Small Business Continues to Lead as Most Admired Among Americans

By at 12 July, 2023, 10:54 am


by Raymond J. Keating – 

Each year, Gallup polls Americans as to their views on various institutions. In the latest such survey released earlier this month, Gallup found that a good number of institutions lingered at or near lows, as was the case in last year’s poll as well.

Low-Confidence Institutions

Various “bad news” points were noted by Gallup. For example, “Most of the institutions rated this year are within three points of their all-time-low confidence score, including four that are at or tied with their record low.”

Over the past two years, the largest percentage point decline came with the presidency, which lost 12 points (moving from 38 percent in 2021 to 26 percent in 2023).

The only real good news has to do with small business and the military, as has been the case in recent times.

Small Business Tops the List

Specifically, small business led the way with the highest degree of confidence (that is, a great deal or a fair amount) among the American public at 65 percent. It’s encouraging to see that Americans still have confidence in and admiration for small businesses, and therefore, for the entrepreneurs who startup, own and build such enterprises.

It’s also worth noting that while small business has seen some small erosion in confidence over the last couple of years (see chart below from Gallup), the 65 percent level in 2023 was above its low of 57 percent set in 1998.

For good measure, while political partisanship can generate substantially different levels of confidence among various institutions, that’s not the case with small business, which is supported across the political divide – 68 percent among Republicans, 66 percent among independents, and 64 percent among Democrats.

Next in line was the military, with 60 percent of Americans having a high degree of confidence. That compared 64 percent last year, and to the military’s all-time low of 50 percent registered in 1981.

Unfortunately, once again in 2023, no other institution reached a 50 percent level of confidence among Americans, with the police coming in third at 43 percent. But that 43 percent not only was down from 50 percent in 2021, but it marked an all-time low level for the police.

Who came in dead last, again?

Congress. And, was the 8 percent garnered by Congress an all-time low? No. Confidence in Congress registered an all-time low of 7 percent last year.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest books on the economy are The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist and The Weekly Economist II: 52 More Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.


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