Americans Losing Trust in Nearly All Professions

The confidence crisis worsens

Americans’ trust in various professions, from professors to members of Congress, has dropped recently. 

WHY IT MATTERS – Trust in institutions has decreased across the board in recent years and shows no signs of changing. Respondents continue to feel that elites and professionals do not have Americans’ best interests in mind.

THE NUMBERS – Gallup’s 2023 Honesty and Ethics poll asked 800 respondents from Dec. 1 to Dec. 20 to rate the honesty and ethical standards of 23 listed professions. Nearly all answered negatively compared to previous years, following a downward trend in ratings since 2019: 

  • 56% rate doctors highly, down from 65% in 2019. 
  • 45% rate police officers highly, down from 54% in 2019. 
  • 42% rate college teachers highly, down from 49% in 2019. 
  • 32% rate clergy highly, down from 40% in 2019. 
  • 19% rate journalists highly, down from 28% in 2019. 
  • 12% rate business leaders highly, down from 20% in 2019. 

Members of Congress have the lowest honesty and ethical standards, according to those surveyed:   

  • Only 6% rate members of Congress highly. 
  • Congress members were rated worse than car dealers, stockbrokers, and insurance salespersons 

More highly supported professions have also seen decreases in trust: 

  • 78% rate nurses highly, down from 85% in 2019. 
  • 60% rate engineers highly, down from 66% in 2019. 

Republicans and Democrats have different opinions on the same professions: 

  • 62% of Democrats rate college teachers highly, compared to 22% of Republicans. 
  • 32% of Democrats rate journalists highly, compared to 7% of Republicans. 
  • 37% of Democrats rate police officers highly, compared to 55% of Republicans. 

THE BOTTOM LINE – Declining public trust is a growing crisis as professions are increasingly politicized. Gallup noted that decreased trust in doctors and pharmacists, for example, comes from the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

GO DEEPEREthics Ratings of Nearly All Professions Down in US