The Gallup Poll, conducted June 7-10, found 56 percent of Protestants expressed a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the church/organized religion, compared with 46 percent of Catholics who did. There are too few respondents of other specific religions to analyze separately, but confidence in organized religion among all other Americans combined was 29 percent -- far less than either Protestants' or Catholics', Gallup said.
In 1973, the church or organized religion was the most highly rated institution in Gallup's confidence in institutions annual survey, and it continued to rank first in most years through 1985 -- outranking the military and the U.S. Supreme Court, among other institutions, Gallup officials said.
That began to change in the mid- to late 1980s, with confidence in religion hitting 45 percent in 2002, rebounding to 53 percent in 2004, dropping to 46 percent in 2007 and rebounding again to 52 percent at 2009 until dropping to a new low point this year.
The Gallup Poll was based on telephone interviews of 1,004 U.S. adults and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.