December 22, 2023 7:00am

Confidence in Memphis institutions varies widely

Memphis poll voters more confident overall in local institutions than national voters

Photo of David Waters
Memphis, TN Correspondent

Confidence in local institutions varies widely among Memphis Power Poll members.

Nearly 90 percent of poll respondents expressed "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in local business (89%) and local hospitals and health care (87%).

On the other end of the spectrum, less than 20 percent of respondents expressed similar confidence in the local criminal justice and courts system (15%) and local public schools (20%).

Local law enforcement (40%), city and county governments (32%), and news organizations (41%) fared better but not well.

Local churches and organized religion scored 63% confidence.

Interestingly, Memphis Power Poll members generally have more confidence in local institutions than others have in similar national institutions.

Each year since 1979, the Gallup organization has tracked public confidence in a range of national institutions using the same confidence levels -- a great deal, quite a lot, very little, none, and no opinion.

In its 2023 poll, Gallup reported that the average confidence scores of nine institutions routinely tracked since 1979 had fallen to a new low of 26%.

The average confidence score of the eight institutions in this month's Memphis Power Poll was 48%.

Memphis poll respondents gave much higher marks to some local institutions than Gallup voters gave to national counterparts -- business (89% to 65%), health care (87% to 34%), news organizations (41% to 18%), and churches and organized religion (53% to 32%).

Memphis respondents gave slightly higher confidence scores to city and county governments (32%) than Gallup voters gave to the presidency (26%) and Congress (8%).

Local Power Poll voters gave slighty lower scores to local law enforcement (40%) and the local criminal justice system and courts (15%) than Gallup voters gave to police (43%) and the criminal justice system (17%).

Only 20% of Memphis poll voters expressed confidence in public schools compared to 26% of Gallup voters.

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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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