Who do Americans trust? Nurses above all, and then pharmacists, medical doctors and police officers, according to a Gallup poll released Friday. For the ninth year in a row, nurses topped Gallup's list of professionals Americans consider the most honest.
More than four out of five polled rated nurses' ethics as either "high" or "very high," while more than 70% had high regard for the honesty of pharmacists and doctors. Grade-school teachers also ranked well, at 67%, but the perception of their trustworthiness fell from 74% three years ago, according to Gallup's November telephone poll of more than 1,000 adults.
And even though police officers remained high on the list, the profession's reputation also has slid in the last year. The percentage of respondents who believe police are ethical fell by six percentage points from the 2009 survey.
Meanwhile, Americans consider car salespeople and members of Congress to be the least ethical. Only 9% of those surveyed say the members of Congress have high ethical standards, down from 12% two years ago, and just 7% say they trust car salespeople.
Within the past year, pharmacists' reputations jumped -- the profession gained five percentage points -- while clergymen, bankers and lawyers also each gained a measure of the public's trust since 2009. Military officers also gained eight percentage points since they were last included in the survey in 2008, Gallup reported.