Gallup: Americans trust their car salesmen more than Congress

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It’s official: ethical standards differ between Republicans and Democrats. An unusual Gallup poll asked respondents to rank the honesty and ethics of 22 professions; the findings reveal that party identification even influences one’s sense of trust, the pollster says.

For example, 68 percent of Republicans give “high or very high” ethical and honesty ratings to police officers, compared with 44 percent of Democrats. About 63 percent of Republicans give winning marks to clergy; 40 percent of the Democrats agree. Both parties offer applause to nurses, doctors, pharmacists and grade-school teachers.

Denizens of the political world irked both parties, however. Five percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats said the members of Congress had good ethics and honesty. Car salesmen, incidentally, did better overall, trusted by 9 percent of the GOP and the same 8 percent of the Democrats. Moving right along, a mere 4 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of the Democrats said the same about lobbyists.

Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones says such ratings are influenced by stereotypes and real-world experience. “A third important source are news stories, particularly scandals, involving certain professions,” he notes. Yes, well. Journalists did not do well in this survey. Fifteen percent of the Republicans and 25 percent of the Democrats said TV and print media were ethical and honest.

“Americans’ political and ideological beliefs also appear to color their opinions,” Mr. Jones says. “Certainly Republican tendency to be more religious is a key factor in their more positive ratings of clergy, and Democrats generally higher trust in the news media is a factor in their ratings of news reporters.”

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