We Are Shaken - Confidence in National Institutions Has Shifted Dramatically

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It’s not hard to sense decay in faith. Most of us feel, and have for a while, the collapsing of that shared belief in our society and its structures. In a kind of confirmation on Monday, the Pew Research Center released new polling data, divided along party lines, that illustrates this.


The data shows the confidence that Republicans and Democrats have separately for national institutions, including churches/religious organizations, the national news media, and colleges/universities.

Not only is the gap of confidence incredibly wide, but in some cases, it is on the rise. Hardly surprising, but definitely of note.


Democrats are more ideologically divided than are Republicans over the effect of churches and religious organizations.

Liberal Democrats are about as likely to say the impact of churches and religious organizations is negative (44%) as they are to say it is positive (40%). By two-to-one (58% to 29%), more conservative and moderate Democrats say churches have a positive than negative effect on the country.

Majorities of both conservative Republicans and Republican leaners (75%) and moderate and liberal Republicans (68%) say churches and religious organizations have a positive impact.

You don’t have to observe popular culture too long to see that some of the incredibly liberal among us continue to believe that religion is a sickness which society needs to get over. Of course, this more often than not refers to all other faiths besides Islam. That ones gets a pass, remember? Also unsurprising is that Republicans, as a whole, view religious organizations in a positive light.

News Media

Nearly half of Democrats and Democratic leaners say the news media has a negative impact on the country (46%) while about as many (44%) view its impact positively.

This marks a major shift from just a year ago, when 33% of Democrats said the national news media had a positive effect and 59% said it had a negative effect.

Republicans’ views of the news media’s impact are virtually unchanged from last year, but have grown more negative since 2010. Currently, 85% of Republicans and Republican leaners say the news media has a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, up from 76% two years ago and 68% in 2010.


News flash: people are growing tired of the national media! A good handful of those who identify or lean toward the Democratic side view the news media as not having a positive effect on the country.

Those on the GOP side of things – to the tune of 85% – continue to view the news media as negative. There is absolutely no question as to why this is the case. The mainstream media is still majority-owned by those with a liberal agenda who claim fake news whenever it suits them and seek to undermine the truth when it contradicts their narrative.

CNN, anyone?

We’re residing in a poisonous environment where good journalism is too often the exception, not the rule. Combine that with a volatile, juvenile commander-in-chief, and things become explosive. And it’s not just about politics or journalism, either.

Higher Education

While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.

A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.

Again, nothing shocking with these results. Over the past year especially, safe space ideology has increased at higher learning institutions all over the country. Differing opinions (aka GOP or conservative) are silenced, and intolerance is all that seems to come from the “tolerant” crowd. Several on the right side of the political aisle have been barred from speaking on campuses, and those who do are often met with protests or even riots.


And then there’s what happens inside the classroom: liberalism rules.

Like I said, the results are confirmation, proof of expectation. We can feel the decay. The American psyche is wounded and distrustful. And with ample reason.

In tumultuous 2017, with all that is already on the plate and all that is to come, don’t expect the confidence in any of these areas to improve soon. We are shaken.


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