Americans are losing trust in almost every major profession, with doctors and police taking the biggest hits

News & Politics

Americans have lost trust in some of the most important roles in a society, including those in the medical industry, teaching, and especially positions of institutional power.

A Gallup poll in Honesty and Ethics conducted at the end of 2023 asked 800 respondents to rate the ethical standards of and their overall trust in a series of professions.

“How you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields?” the survey asked. In terms of “very high” trust, all professions but one took a hit compared to previous years.

The poll measured the downward trends dating back to 2019, showing that medical doctors, pharmacists, bankers, and journalists have lost the most trust.

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Medical doctors went from 65% in 2019 down to 56% in 2023, while pharmacists dropped from 64% to 55%.

Bankers’ and journalists’ ethics decreased in the public eye from 28% in 2019 to 19% in 2023, as well.

Chiropractors, clergy, and business executives took eight-point hits in the survey, tied for the second-highest decreases.

Dentists (-2), stockbrokers (-2), insurance people (-1), and car salespeople (-1) fared among the best on the survey over the same period of time.

However, dentists were the only profession of the top gainers that did not already have an abysmal rating for the “very high” trust category.

Dentists had 59%, while insurance salesman and stockbrokers were trusted at a rate of just 12%. Car salespeople were near the bottom at only 8%.

Completely bottoming out on the list in terms of high levels of trust were senators, at just 8%, and members of Congress, who were rated as having “very high” ethical standards by just 6% of respondents.

The only profession to see an increase in perceived ethics standards were labor union leaders, who saw a 1% increase up to 25%.

Gallup also reported record-low ethics ratings for five of the American professions.

The data, dating back to 1976, showed that pharmacists, clergy, journalists, senators, and members of Congress all hit their lowest ratings in nearly 50 years.

As noted by America’s New Majority Project, opinions of some of the top professions also varied drastically when comparing the views of Democrats versus Republicans.

Just 22% of Republicans rated college teachers highly, while nearly two-thirds of Democrats did at 62%. As well, Democrats rated journalists more favorably than Republicans by more than four times; 32% to 7%, respectively.

The numbers flipped, however, for police officers, where 55% of Republicans rated them highly, with 37% of Democrats agreeing.

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