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Twenty percent of the public has 'great confidence' in TV news leadership, poll says

Twenty percent of respondents to the latest Harris Poll measuring confidence in leaders of various national institutions say they have a great deal of confidence in those at the helm of TV news.

The poll, released March 1, shows that while the percentage of those expressing great confidence in TV news leaders ranked significantly lower than the 54 percent who have great confidence in leaders of small business, which topped the list, and the 46 percent who are equally confident about military leadership, which came in second, it fared better than the press. Only 12 percent of respondents said they had a great deal of confidence in leaders of the press.

Those expressing great confidence in TV news leaders was down from the 24 percent achieved in 2001 and 2002 but up slightly from the 19 percent recorded in 2006.

The poll showed that more people said they have hardly any confidence in TV news leaders than have a great deal of confidence — 25 percent vs. 20 percent. It also found that 54 percent have "only some" confidence in TV news leadership.

By comparison, similar disparities between hardly any confidence and great confidence in institutional leadership were registered in the public school system (27 percent vs. 22 percent), the courts and the justice system (26 percent vs. 21 percent) and Wall Street (24 percent vs. 17 percent).

In terms of the three branches of government, the Supreme Court topped the list with 27 percent expressing great confidence, followed by the White House with 22 percent and Congress, which came in last among all categories, at 10 percent.

The Harris Poll results come from a telephone survey of 1013 U.S. adults between Feb. 6 and Feb. 12.