Published: December 14, 2011

By Jim Lichtman
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This is not a good year to be a member of Congress.

In its annual measure of Ethics and Honesty in Professionssurvey, the Gallup organization, not surprisingly, found that 64% of Americans rate Congress at “Low” or “Very Low,” which tied a record low score with Lobbyists in 2008.

Telemarketers, stockbrokers, bankers, real estate agents, and lawyers all beat out Congress when it comes to honesty and ethics.

Nurses, once again, top the list at 84% with a score of “High,” or “Very High,” followed by Pharmacists (73%), Medical Doctors (70%), High School Teachers (62%), Police Officers (54%) and Clergy (52%).

“In general, Congress members’ honesty and ethics ratings have never been that positive,” Gallup says, “averaging 15% very high or high and peaking at 25% in 2001. What has changed in recent years is the growing proportion of Americans rating their honesty and ethics as very low or low, rising from 22% in 2001 to 64% today.”

This year’s low ratings of Congress are “consistent with Americans’ poor views of Congress in general, as both its job approval rating and broader trust in the institution are also at record lows.”

What’s interesting is that in spite of the Occupy movements around the country that continue to build support against financial institutions, bankers were given a 26% “low” or “very low” rating, and stockbrokers received a 40% low score.

Gallup reports that “Americans’ views of Congress are as poor as they have ever been, and Congress now ties lobbyists as the most disparaged profession Gallup has ever tested. Some of the frustration with Congress is no doubt related to the poor economy, which is also keeping down President Obama’s job ratings. Congress’ poor ratings also likely result from the institution’s inability to address the key issues facing the country, such as jobs and the federal budget deficit, with the failure of the ‘supercommittee’ to reach agreement on deficit reduction a recent example.”

The good news, “Americans are as positive as they have ever been about those in medical professions, though the public has always held doctors, nurses, and pharmacists in high esteem.”

Conclusion: Maybe if we elected nurses, pharmacists and doctors to Congress we would have a change we could believe in.


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