December 7, 2012
The Seven People Americans Trust More Than Their Pastor
Gallup says only 52 percent give clergy high marks for honesty and ethics.
Who do people regard as the most honest and ethical person in their lives? New data from Gallup indicates that, for most Americans, the answer is not a pastor or clergyman; it's a nurse or pharmacist.
According to the poll, in which respondents rated the "honesty and ethical standards" of 22 different professions, 85 percent of Americans ranked nurses as "high/very high." Nearly three-quarters of respondents said the same about pharmacists.
When it came to clergy, however, the response was less positive: Only 52 percent of respondents said clergy were highly honest.
However, this number is up 2 percent from similar data produced in 2009, which marked the lowest recorded level of public trust in clergy in 32 years. Confidence in clergy has stayed relatively stable over time: ranging from 61 percent in 1977 to a high of 67 percent in 1985, and consistently in the low 50s in recent years. And for 2012, clergy still fell within the top half of all rated professions, ranking 8th.
Meanwhile, car salesmen edged out members of Congress for what amounts to the slot as being regarded as the least honest, garnering high/very high responses from only 8 and 10 percent of respondents, respectively.