The Washington Times - December 16, 2013, 07:39AM

Members of Congress and lobbyists sit at the bottom of a new poll that ranks professions by their ethical standards, while nurses, pharmacists and grade school teachers come out on top.

Each year, Gallup asks Americans to rate the honesty and ethical standards of various professions.

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Only 8 percent gave federal lawmakers “very high” or “high” marks, and lobbyists came in dead-last at 6 percent.

“Politicians — especially those working for the federal government — remain in low esteem, mirroring a commonly held distrust of the federal government that has developed in the U.S. in the past 40 to 50 years,” Gallup said.

The year has been an especially tough one for Congress, after a government shutdown and clash over the debt limit in October caused many Americans to lash out at their representatives in Washington.

Notably, the poll results said only 47 percent of Americans rate the clergy’s ethics highly, the first time the profession’s rating dropped below 50 percent since Gallup began to ask about clergy in 1977.

“If views of a certain profession have changed, it usually has been a function of scandal surrounding it,” the pollsters said. “The Catholic priest abuse stories from the early 2000s helped lead to a sharp drop in Americans’ ratings of clergy, a decline from which the profession has yet to fully recover.”