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Perceptions of the U.S. Justice System - Division of Media Relations and Public Affairs - American Bar Association

Perceptions of the U.S. Justice System
Opinion
Comparison of Confidence Levels Between Actual Levels of Knowledge

Now that we have looked at the overall confidence levels people have in various institutions and professions and have compared them to previous findings, we will discuss how levels of actual knowledge and active experiences with the justice system may influence confidence levels.

As one would hope, those who are more knowledgeable about the justice system have significantly higher levels of confidence in the U.S. justice system. Those people are also more confident in the various components of the justice system, with the exception of the executive branches of both federal and state governments, the state legislatures, the prison system, and the U.S. Congress. Another important finding is that, among the justice system components, confidence in the legal profession and lawyers is rated the lowest by those with the highest and middle levels of actual knowledge, though even among those with less knowledge, confidence is very low (19%).

Top-2-Box: Extremely/Very Confident

 

Actual Levels of Knowledge

 

High

Medium

Low

Base:

(260)

(504)

(236)

%

%

%

 

A

B

C

U.S. Supreme Court

65 BC

45

42

Medical Profession/Doctors

57 BC

40

46

The Local Police

56 BC

46 c

39

Accounting Profession/Accountants

51 BC

39 C

25

Federal Courts other than U.S. Supreme Court

48 BC

31 c

24

Organized Religion

39

38

34

Judiciary/Judges

39 BC

30

29

U.S. Justice System in General

39 BC

26

28

State and Local Courts

37 BC

25

23

The Executive Branch of the Federal

Government – Office of the President;

Departments of Commerce, Defense, etc.

28 b

22

34 B

The Executive Branches of State/Local

Government – Office of Governors, Mayors,

Etc.

28

23

24

The Public Schools

26

24

33 aB

The State Legislatures

21 b

16

23 B

Your State's Prison System

20

17

20

U.S. Congress

19

15

23 B

The Legal Profession/Lawyers

12

12

19 AB

The Media

10 B

5

12 B

Note: Question was answered on a 5-point scale; Extremely Confident to Not At All Confident. Scores reported are top-2-box: Extremely/Very Confident

Capital letter indicates significant difference at the 95% confidence level; lower case letter indicates significant difference at the 90% confidence level.

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Survey and report prepared by M/A/R/CŪ Research.