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Organized religion ranked fifth out of 16 institutions surveyed by Gallup in its annual confidence index, according to a report published Aug. 12.

With 42% of U.S. adults saying they have a “great deal” (25%) or “quite a lot” (17%) of confidence, organized religion was just ahead of public schools (41%) and a few points behind police (48%).

(This is the first time in polling history that less than half of U.S. adults expressed a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in police.)

By comparison, 31% expressed “some,” 23% “very little” and 3% “no” confidence in organized religion, with 1% not sharing an opinion.

While the 26% “very little” or “no” confidence total is down three points from last year, it remains well above the all-time low of 10% in 1975 and 1983.

The 42% indicating a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in organized religion represents a six-point increase from 2019 and ends a multiyear decline.

In 2013, 48% expressed a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in organized religion, which dropped to 41% by 2016.

Confidence remained unchanged in 2017, declined to 38% in 2018 and then reached an all-time low of 36% in 2019, 32 points below the all-time high in 1985.

The top three institutions in terms of U.S. confidence in 2020 are small business (75% great deal / quite a lot), the military (72%) and the medical system (51%), with the bottom three institutions being big business (19% “very little” or “no” confidence), televisions news (18%) and Congress (13%).

The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4%.

The full report is available here. The topline results are available here.

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