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Poll: Politicians, Priests and Executives Drop in ‘Ethics’ Rankings

After a year full of scandals in Congress, the Roman Catholic Church and the business world, Americans are dealing out low marks for honesty and ethics.

After a year full of scandals in Congress, the Roman Catholic Church and the business world, Americans are dealing out low marks for honesty and ethics.

“While ratings of business professionals have never been high, it is clear that the scandals may well have taken a toll,” Gallup reported.

Accountants seem to be the most trusted in the business world, with 35 percent of Americans saying they have “high” or “very high” ethics. Only 17 percent of Americans said the same of business executives, while stockbrokers only gained the trust of 12 percent of Americans.

Clergy ratings have dropped to their lowest ever, according to the poll.

Fifty-two percent of Americans rated the honesty and ethics of clergy as “high,” down 12 points from 2001.

“A drop in ratings of clergy also occurred in 1992-1994, another time when the Catholic Church struggled with the issue of sexual abuse committed by priests,” Gallup reported. “Those ratings eventually bounced back, going as high as last year’s 64%, the highest since 1985.”

Catholics gave slightly lower ratings to clergy (50 percent) than did Protestants (57 percent).

Congressmen also saw a drop in ratings from their historical high of 25 percent in 2001. Their rating this year is at 17 percent.

Nurses are at the top of the honesty and ethics list. Seventy-nine percent of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethics as “high” or “very high.”

Other professions that made the top of the list were pharmacists (67 percent), military officers (65 percent), high school teachers (64 percent) and medical doctors (63 percent).
At the bottom of the list were telemarketers (5 percent), car salesmen (6 percent) and advertisers (9 percent).

Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.