Nearly 7 in 10 Americans Hail Their Integrity
GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
PRINCETON, NJ -- For the ninth consecutive year, America's pharmacists top Gallup's list of 26 occupations rated for their "honesty and ethical standards." Pharmacists are cited by 69% of Americans -- an all time high for any profession measured by Gallup -- for having "high" or "very high" standards. Four other groups receive plaudits from a majority of Americans in Gallup's 1997 update of this annual survey: the clergy, medical doctors, college teachers and dentists.
Many professions, including journalists, business executives, building contractors and real estate agents are considered just "average" on Gallup's integrity scale. A few occupations, particularly car salesmen and lawyers, stand out for having relative high negative ratings.
How do Americans rate the integrity of public opinion pollsters? About equal with journalists TV reporters, both with predominantly average ratings
Few Changes from Last Year
The standing of most of the groups and professions in 1997 showed virtually no change from 1996.
Two major exceptions to this finding are pharmacists and bankers, both of whom received somewhat higher marks this year than last. The percentage giving pharmacists high or very high marks for honesty rose five percentage points, from 64% to 69%. Bankers -- whose ratings had tumbled in 1988 at the time of the Savings and Loan crisis -- rose eight percentage points, from 26% in 1996 to 34% this year. This marks the highest rating for bankers since the banking scandals became public, but is still lower than the 38-39% ratings they received prior to 1988.
The Bottom of the List
Only one profession is rated as having "low" or "very low" standards by a majority of Americans: car salesmen. Car salesmen have retained the dubious distinction of finishing last on the list every year since first included in 1977. This year only 8% of Americans credit them with high or very high standards, while nearly six in ten, 59%, view them in negative terms. Young adults are particularly scornful: only 5% credit car salesmen with high standards, while almost two-thirds (64%) rate their ethics as low or very low.
Second only to car salesmen in receiving negative integrity ratings are lawyers, with 41% calling their standings low or very low (only 15% consider them high or very high). On a relative basis labor union leaders, insurance salesmen and Congressmen are also poorly rated, given low or very low ratings by 36-38% of Americans.
Racial Divisions Remain for Police, Clergy
As in previous years, white Americans show much greater faith in the honesty and ethical standards of policemen than do blacks. Fifty-two percent of whites rate them high or very high, compared with only 31% of blacks.
Whites are also more likely than blacks to hold the clergy in high esteem: 61% of whites consider the clergy's standards high or very high compared to 46% of blacks.
One racial division noted in previous years may be diminishing. Two years ago, when the O.J. Simpson trial was America's chief preoccupation, blacks were far more admiring than whites -- by 21 points -- of lawyers' ethical standards. In 1996, the difference had decreased to 15 points, where it remains today, when 28% of blacks and 13% of whites give lawyers high marks.
The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,003 adults, 18 years and older, conducted November 6-9, 1997. For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be plus or minus 3 percentage points. Results based on blacks include interviews with 100 blacks nationwide and have a margin of error of plus or minus 11 percentage points.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
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? First,... Next,...(ROTATED)
Honesty & Ethics: 26 Occupations
Nov 7-9, 1997
|Very high||High||Average||Low||Very low||No opinion|
|Public opinion pollsters||4%||19||55||12||2||8|
|TV reporters, commentators||4%||18||55||17||4||2|
|Real estate agents||3%||13||56||20||4||4|
|Labor union leaders||2%||13||41||26||12||6|
Honesty & Ethics - Trend
(Based on those saying "high" or "very high" combined)
|3. Medical doctors||56||51||50||52||58||53||52|
|4. College teachers||49||46||45||47||53||54||51|
|8. Funeral directors||NA||26||30||29||32||24||35|
|10. Public opinion pollsters||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA||NA|
|12. TV reporters/ commentators||NA||NA||36||33||33||22||32|
|13. Business executives||20||19||19||18||23||16||25|
|14. Local officeholders||NA||14||14||16||18||14||21|
|15. Building contractors||23||18||19||18||21||22||20|
|16. Newspaper reporters||NA||NA||30||26||29||22||24|
|18. State officeholders||NA||11||12||13||15||11||17|
|19. Real estate agents||NA||13||14||13||15||13||16|
|21. Labor union leaders||12||13||14||12||13||14||15|
|23. Advertising practitioners||11||10||9||9||12||7||12|
|25. Insurance salesmen||NA||15||11||13||10||10||13|
|26. Car salesmen||NA||8||6||6||5||6||6|
|** tie breakers: (1) Largest % "very high" (2) smallest % combined "low/very low"|
Honesty & Ethics - Trend (Continued)
(Based on those saying "high" or "very high" combined)
|3. Medical doctors||54||52||51||47||54||55||56|
|4. College teachers||45||50||52||50||52||56||55|
|8. Funeral directors||35||35||34||30||35||35||36|
|10. Public opinion pollsters||NA||NA||NA||27||25||24||23|
|12. TV reporters/ commentators||29||31||28||22||21||23||22|