Gallup Annual Survey on Confidence in Institutions: Small Business Ranks Number One with Americans  

By at 19 August, 2020, 2:37 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

Each year, Gallup releases a poll tracking what Americans think about key institutions. The latest survey was released last week (on August 12), and small business ranks number one.

Each institution is ranked according to high levels of confidence – specifically, “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence. Let’s look at key results:

• Only three institutions out of 16 pulled in more than 50 percent of people saying they possessed “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in that group.

• Small business, as noted, ranked best, with a total of 75 percent saying they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in small businesses. That was up by seven percentage points from the previous poll.

• The other two institutions scoring above 50 percent with “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence were the military (at 72 percent) and the medical system (at 51 percent).

• Confidence in the police dipped from 53 percent in the previous poll to 48 percent in this poll.

• At the other end, three institutions came in below 20 percent of Americans saying “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence. Those were “big business” at 19 percent, television news at 18 percent, and Congress at 13 percent. (Whenever I see the big numbers for small business and poor numbers of big business in this and other polls, I always wonder where the American people draw the line, or if it’s more an anti-big-business “feeling” often ginned up in politics and the media?)

When one factors in responders agreeing that they have “some” confidence in these institutions, Americans’ views look far less negative. As Gallup noted, “Despite low ratings for most institutions, majorities have at least ‘some’ confidence in each one.”

For example, when factoring in “a great deal,” “quite a lot” and “some” confidence, then confidence in “big business” registers 64 percent; television news 51 percent; and even Congress hits 55 percent. In addition, small business hits 94 percent, with only 6 percent saying that they had “very little” confidence in small business. Again, those small business tallies rank as the best among all institutions.

By the way, it would be great if Americans continue to act on their confidence by supporting small businesses in their respective communities as best as they can during this pandemic.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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