Americans’ confidence in the U.S. military lowest in 2 decades, poll finds

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The results of the Gallup poll mark the lowest level of public confidence in the U.S. military since 1997 and the steepest decline in the past five years. | John Moore/Getty Images

Public confidence in the U.S. military continues to decline, reaching its lowest point in over two decades, according to a new poll.

Only 60 percent of Americans expressed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the military in a recent Gallup poll conducted from June 1 to 22. That’s down from 64 percent who said the same last year.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, military confidence shot up and remained high at mostly above 70 percent for two decades before dipping to 69 percent in 2021. The confidence level has further declined since then — potentially linked to the U.S.’s rocky exit from Afghanistan.

Over the past 48 years, Republicans have consistently shown the highest levels of confidence in the military. But in just the past three years, Republican confidence plunged from 91 percent to 68 percent. Independents — who historically held moderate levels of confidence — now have the lowest trust, with public confidence dropping by 13 percentage points to 55 percent. Though confidence among Democrats rose after President Joe Biden took office, that gain has dissipated over the past year.

The results mark the lowest level since 1997 and the steepest decline in the past five years — mirroring a crisis of trust in several other public institutions.

The military still evokes the highest public trust among the 14 other institutions included in the poll. Five institutions stand as the least trusted, with newspapers, the criminal justice system, television news, big business, and Congress all garnering confidence from less than 20 percent of Americans. Congress, in particular, registers the lowest confidence at a mere 8 percent.

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