About three-quarters or more of Americans are confident in the military, medical scientists and scientists in general to act in the best interests of the public. But fewer than half of Americans report similar confidence in the news media, business leaders and elected officials, according to a Pew Research Center report released earlier this month.
One-third of the public (33%) has a great deal of confidence in the military and an additional 46% say they have a fair amount of confidence. The high ranking of the military is consistent with a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, which found 78% of the public said the military contributes “a lot” to society.
Similar shares of Americans express at least a fair amount of confidence in medical scientists (84%) and scientists (76%).
The public expresses less confidence in school and religious leaders. About two-thirds (65%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in K-12 principals and superintendents and 53% have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in religious leaders.
Americans are least confident in the news media, business leaders and elected officials to act in the best interests of the public. Majorities have not too much or no confidence in each of these three groups, a pattern that is shared across the political spectrum. For example, majorities of both Democrats (68%) and Republicans (78%) say they have not too much or no confidence at all in elected officials to act in the best interests of the public, in keeping with previous Pew Research Center studies showing near-record low trust in the federal government.
The survey also shows that Republicans trust professions less overall than Democrats or independents with the obvious exception of the military, and that religiously unaffiliated Americans have serious trust issues with religious leaders overall.
Overall the news media is only trusted by a little over a third of the country to act in the public's best interest, a little less than business leaders at 41%, but political leaders are in the basement at 27% (there's that number again...)
I would think after this election that all three groups would want to take a serious look at themselves as to why so few Americans trust them to act in the public's best interest.
Because for the most part? They don't.