Poll: Congressmen, Car Salesmen Least-Trusted Professions

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 3 2012 12:15 PM

The List of Who People Trust Less Than Congressmen Is a Short One

Gallup is out today with an illustrative new poll that shows how trustworthy the American public thinks certain professions are. Nurses top the list, besting doctors by about 15 percent in the trustworthy department. The bottom of the list is populated by the obvious: car salespeople and members of Congress. Senators fared slightly better than their House colleagues and scored better than stockbrokers, HMO managers, and ad men and women.

Here was the question's exact wording: "Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields—very high, high, average, low or very low? How about—[RANDOM ORDER]"

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The fact that nurses topped doctors isn't a surprise. They've owned the No. 1 spot every year except one since they were first included in the poll in 1999. (They were temporarily dethroned in 2001, when pollsters added firefighters to the list on a one-time basis following 9/11.)

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.