Congress Bottoms Out in New Honesty and Ethics Ratings

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Americans view members of Congress as some of the least honest and ethical professionals, according to a Gallup poll released today.

But there's a bit of good news for congressional lawmakers, who're at the bottom of the barrel in just about every measure of public disdain. One profession does rank lower: lobbyists.

The poll asked people to rate the honesty and ethical standards, in a variety of fields, as very high, high, average, low or very low, and just 8 percent of Americans found Congress members to have "very high" or "high" honesty and ethical standards.

The 8 percent rating mirrors last month's Gallup Congressional approval rating of 9 percent.

The latest single-digit approval rating is an all-time low for the legislative body. Gallup has been asking American's opinion of Congress for 39 years, and the newest poll is the only time the body has received a single-digit rating.

Congress shares the bottom of the honesty and ethics ratings with lobbyists and car salespeople, the only three job professions to receive a single-digit rating.

Topping this year's honesty and ethics ratings are nurses, pharmacists and grade-school teachers. Nurses received the highest honesty and ethical standards, with 82 percent of American's believing the medical professionals to have "very high" or "high" standards, placing them 12 points above the next highest ranking profession, pharmacists, with a 70 percent rating.

Nurses have consistently topped Gallup's honesty and ethics ratings since the polling company began asking about the profession in 1999.

Gallup has periodically conducted the honesty and ethics of various professions poll since 1996, and has annually surveyed U.S. opinion on the subject for 23 years.

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