American Confidence in Institutions


To a great extent, our society is directed by various created institutions: government, science, religion, the media to name a few.  Given the immense power of these institutions, how are they perceived by us?
Which institutions do we have most confidence in?   How much does confidence in the federal government depend on whether the party in power matches our own political allegiance?

This interactive visualization allows you to explore the results of more than forty years’ worth of data from the General Social Survey (GSS 1972 – 2014), which asked Americans to evaluate their confidence in the people running the United States’ most salient institutions. The GSS offers a choice of three confidence levels: hardly any, some, and a great deal.

The visualization below charts the answers of ‘a great deal’ by percentage of respondents for each institution surveyed. Manipulate the ‘demographic’ displayed in order to get a more nuanced picture this feeling and sentiment across demographics.

A detailed report on the data can be found here.