The Washington Times - December 12, 2011, 03:58PM

A record 64 percent of Americans rate the honesty and ethical standards of Congress as “very low” or “low” — a score far worse than car salesmen, telemarketers and lawyers, a new Gallup poll shows.

Only lobbyists — who in 2008 also received a low honesty and ethics rating of 64 percent — have scored as poorly as Capitol Hill lawmakers did this year.

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No profession has received a worse score since Gallup began asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethics of several professions in 1976.

Results of the latest survey, released Monday, showed only 7 percent of Americans having a “very high/high” opinion of members of Congress.

Nurses top the 2011 chart with a “very high/high” rating of 84 percent. Only 1 percent of survey respondents had a “very low/low” opinion of the profession.

Lobbyists received a very low/low rating in the 2011 survey. Telemarketers received a 53 percent very low/low rating, with care salespersons at 47 percent and lawyers at 37 percent.

Americans are split on their opinion of journalists, with 26 percent of the poll’s respondents rating the profession very high/high and 27 percent giving it a very low/low mark.

The national telephone phone survey of 1,012 adults was conducted Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.