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Americans' confidence plunging in all branches of U.S. gov't, especially presidency: Gallup

WASHINGTON, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Americans' confidence in all three government branches government has hit a record low, with confidence in the presidency at a particularly low of 29 percent, according to a Gallup poll published Monday.

Americans' confidence has sunk to 30 percent for the Supreme Court, a paltry 7 percent for Congress and a six-year low for the office of the presidency, at 29 percent, Gallup found.

The presidency has the largest drop of the three branches this year, down seven percentage points from its previous rating of 36 percent. That number is separate from President Barack Obama's personal approval rating, which is significantly higher but still low in relative terms.

The poll came as myriad scandals continue to trouble the administration, from the death of U.S. veterans due to delays in treatment to the Justice Department's snooping on journalists to revelations of the massive National Security Agency program that allows analysts to sift through databases containing emails from millions of Americans.

Ongoing charges that the administration continues to dodge questions on the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the death of a U.S. ambassador, as well as controversy over the powerful Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, continue to dog the White House.

When Obama first took office in 2009, each of the three branches saw a jump in confidence from their dismally low ratings in George W. Bush's final two years in the White House, Gallup found.

Gallup began asking regularly about the presidency in March 1991, when George H. W. Bush was in office. At that time, 72 percent of Americans had confidence in the presidency -- the highest confidence rating that the institution has ever received. This was immediately following his leadership in the successful first Persian Gulf War, and at a time when his job approval rating hit the then all-time high of 89 percent.

But the elder Bush also saw the largest drop in confidence for the institution that same year, when it fell to a still relatively high of 50 percent in October 1991, according to Gallup.

Among the three presidents who succeeded him, Obama garnered the highest first-year confidence rating, at 51 percent in 2009, but has held lower ratings than both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush in each subsequent year of his presidency so far.

George W. Bush's presidency commanded the highest first-term confidence ratings due to the post-9/11 surge in support for government leaders and institutions, marked by a record job approval rating of 90 percent for Bush in September 2001 and continued high ratings for him in the months thereafter. His second-term approval ratings plummeted, however, and so did confidence in the presidency, reaching an all-time low of 25 percent in 2007.

Clinton had higher approval ratings during his second term thanks to a strong economy, and confidence ratings for the presidency improved as well, with confidence in the institution registering 53 percent for Clinton in June 1998.

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