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U.S. Military Still the Most Trusted Institution

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Updated March 08, 2006
By Jim Garamone

The military continues to be the most admired institution in America, according to the latest Harris Poll.

A total of 47 percent of Americans said they have a "great deal" of confidence in the military. Some 38 percent of Americans said they had "only some" confidence and 14 percent said they had "hardly any" confidence in the military.

The military was followed in the poll by small business - a new category in 2005 - with 45 percent of Americans saying they had a great deal of confidence; colleges and universities, 38 percent; the Supreme Court, 33 percent; and Medicine, 31 percent.

At the bottom of the survey, released March 2, were law firms at 10 percent, Congress at 10 percent, organized labor at 12 percent, major companies at 13 percent and the press at 14 percent.

Anchoring the middle was organized religion at 30 percent, the White House at 25 percent, public schools at 22, the courts and justice system at 21, and television news at 19.

The military has done well in the poll since the mid-1980s. The first poll, conducted in 1966, had the military at 61 percent approval rating. The next poll, conducted in 1971 showed the corrosive effect of the Vietnam War on America. Only 27 percent of Americans had confidence in the military then.

The public confidence in the military climbed after the 1970s and by 1989 the military was the most-trusted organization in the United States.

Harris Interactive, based in Rochester, N.Y., conducts the poll without sponsors. "We do this on our own," public relations coordinator Kelly Gullo said.

Gullo said Harris Interactive pollsters canvassed 1,016 U.S. adults via telephone. She said the sampling error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percent.

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