Congressmen, Lobbyists Rated Less Ethical than Car Salesmen

By: Allison Nielsen | Posted: December 18, 2013 3:55 AM
U.S. Capitol

Bad news for both lobbyists and members of Congress: the American public thinks they’re just about as ethical as car salespeople, who are generally stereotyped as sleazy professionals who will do just about anything to swindle a customer out of their money.

A new Gallup poll asked American adults to rate the honesty and ethical standards of a variety of professions, from doctors to mechanics and even newspaper reporters.

Among all the 22 different professions listed, congressmen and lobbyists ranked at the very bottom of the list as the least ethical of all professions.

Both political professions ranked right below a car salesman. Nine percent of Americans ranked car salesmen with “high” or “very high” honesty and ethical standards.

Only 8 percent of American adults, however, rated members of Congress as “high” or “very high” in honesty and ethical standards, a number which seems hardly surprising since Congress shut down the federal government in October. A related poll showed Congress’s overall approval rating sank to a record low of 9 percent shortly thereafter in November. The overall approval rating for 2013 was 13 percent.

But members of Congress can find solace in knowing that they weren’t at the bottom of the ethical totem pole.

Lobbyists didn’t fare too well on having the best ethical standards and ranked the lowest out of all 22 professions. Only 6 percent of Americans ranked lobbyists as “high” or “very high” in terms of honesty and ethical standards.

A related Gallup poll found seven in 10 Americans believe lobbyists have too much power in the U.S.

When it came to professions with the highest ethical standards, “healing” professions like nurses and pharmacists topped the list, receiving a “high” or “very high” rating of 82 percent and 70 percent, respectively. Doctors also came in at the top of the list with 69 percent of Americans ranking them with “high” or “very high” ethical standards.

Local officeholders received 23 percent, while state officeholders fell toward the bottom of the list, receiving only 14 percent.

Gallup surveyed 1,031 adults from Dec. 5-8 for the poll, which has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Reach Tampa-based reporter Allison Nielsen at or follow her on Twitter at @AllisonNielsen.

Comments (1)

9:21AM DEC 18TH 2013
I would the so called American media.

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