July 27 (UPI) -- A new Gallup poll says Americans are more confident in the U.S. military than in any other government institution -- and they believe it to be effective, well-run and skilled.
The poll released Thursday found 78 percent of U.S. citizens have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the U.S. armed forces.
Gallup said the survey's respondents gave the military its highest confidence rating in nearly two decades.
"Americans cite their perceptions of the professional and competent way in which the military has executed its responsibilities, followed by a focus on the importance of what the military does for the country," Gallup said in a news release. "Americans' explanations focused on the competency of the military include references to its historical effectiveness in accomplishing its objectives, its leadership, the skills of its members, and perceptions that the U.S. military is the world's best."
About 25 percent of Americans said their confidence in the military is based on the important job the armed forces has in keeping the United States safe. They also cited personal experiences -- including their own involvement or that of families and friends -- as a reason they think highly of the Defense Department.
By contrast, Congress only has a 20 percent approval rating, a Gallup poll on July 12 showed. Other institutions, like the Supreme Court and the presidency, also failed to match the Pentagon's projected confidence.
Gallup polled more than 1,000 adults in the United States and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.