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Confidence in TV news, newspapers up slightly, Gallup finds

Confidence in newspapers and television news among Americans has risen slightly from the lows registered four years ago but still remains below the historical average, according to Gallup’s annual update on confidence in institutions.

The update, released this week, reveals 27 percent of respondents say they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in television news, up from 22 percent the year before. Confidence in newspapers climbed to 28 percent from 25 percent the preceding year. Historically, the average of those expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in TV news is 32 percent, while the historical level for newspapers is 33 percent.

According to a Gallup blog posting shedding light on the findings, the research organization found increasing confidence in newspapers and TV news across most subgroups, with the greatest increase among those 30 to 49 years old and among men.

The research revealed a mixed bag for confidence in newspapers and TV news among 18- to 29-year olds. Among this age group confidence in TV news rose 10 percent, while it dropped by the same percentage for newspapers.

For the research, Gallup asks respondents about their confidence level in 16 U.S. institutions as varied as banks and the military. When ranked from greatest to least confidence, newspapers came in tenth and television news eleventh.

According to Gallup, confidence in most institutions this year is lower than the historical average. The research organization attributes the showing to dissatisfaction among the public with how things are going, particularly economically.

The institutions with the greatest decline from their historical average are banks, Congress and the Presidency. Confidence in the military exceeded its historical average by 11 percentage points — to 78 percent expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence.

The Gallup poll on the public’s confidence in institutions was conducted via telephone interviews June 9-12, 2011, with a random sample of 1020 adults 18-years old and older living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. With a 95 percent confidence level, it can be said there is a sampling error of +/-4 percentage points.