Monday, June 14, 2021

Promises made, promises kept

 My previous post involved GSS questions on confidence in various institutions, or more exactly, "the people running" those institutions.  A few years ago, I had some posts about Gallup questions on confidence in institutions.  Both the Gallup and GSS questions started in the early 1970s, but the GSS borrowed questions asked by the Harris polls in 1967, making it possible to go back a little farther.  I wrote about one of the GSS/Harris questions (confidence in the military) a few years ago, and said I would consider the others in "a future post."  It took a while, but I have finally done it.  

I'll begin with confidence in the people running "major companies" and "organized labor."

A big decline in confidence in major companies between 1967 and 1972, and some downward trend since then. For labor, there was a decline until the mid-1980s and some increase since then--confidence was about the same in 2016 and 2018 as it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Next, the people running "organized religion," "medicine," "education," and "the scientific community."

A downward trend for all, except maybe the scientific community.  

Next, "the press" and "TV."


Clearly downward for both.  

Finally, the "US Supreme Court," and "the military."


 Confidence in the court has gone up and down without much change; confidence in the military declined substantially from 1967 to 1980 and has gradually increased since then until it's now back to about the 1967 level.  

The Harris/GSS data agree with the Gallup data in showing a decline in most institutions, with the military being an exception.  However, there seem to be differences for some specific ones, like organized labor, and I may look more closely at those in a future post.  Confidence in all of them declined between 1967 and 1972, supporting the popular idea that the 1960s produced a lasting change in outlook. 



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