Bottom of the barrel: Members of Congress honesty ratings
December 3rd, 2012
11:52 AM ET
2 years ago

Bottom of the barrel: Members of Congress honesty ratings

(CNN) – While Members of Congress have a slightly higher honesty rating than last year, the lawmakers are still considered the least trusted professionals by the American public, barely edging out car salespeople for the lowest spot, according to a new Gallup survey released Monday.

Congress has had consistently low approval ratings over the years and 2012 is no exception, with more than half of Americans–54%–saying lawmakers on Capitol Hill have low or very low ethical standards and only 10% saying the elected officials have high or very high standards.

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The poll numbers come as Republicans and Democrats are locked in a bitter battle in Congress over how to reach a deficit-reduction agreement before an end-of-the-year deadline. If they fail to act, a large amount of tax hikes and spending cuts will kick in at the start of next year, a fiscal shift that could put the economy into a recession.

Out of the 22 professions measured, nurses topped the list, with 85% of Americans saying they have high standards. Pharmacists, medical doctors, and engineers also have high marks.

Car salespeople don't fall too far behind members of Congress, as 49% of Americans say they don't trust car dealers, according to the survey.

This year's rating is marginally better than last year, when a whopping 64% of Americans considered the lawmakers dishonest and only seven percent–the lowest point in the survey's 15 years–said members of Congress were honest.

Senators hold slightly higher trust among the public. Fourteen percent said lawmakers from the upper chamber are honest and have good ethics.

Gallup interviewed 1,015 adults by telephone from November 26 through November 29, a few weeks after the campaign season ended on Election Day. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress • Polls
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. mouche

    Here's the problem. Congress doesn't represent the people who elect them but the big money interests that donate to their campaigns and eventually eith er employ them or their lobbying interest does.

    December 3, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Debbie

    I would add they are at the bottom not only in honesty but integrity and patriotism for the people of the USA.

    December 3, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. AllThatsLeft

    Jim, last year the President and Democrats signed a bill that cut more than $1 trillion in entitlement spending. What did Republicans offer??? Now Republicans want even more cuts yet they still have not given up one penny in tax revenue increases. Democrats have already started going after their sacred cows. Now it's time for the Republicans to do the same...

    December 3, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. peterrice

    The Southern Congress/Senate people are elected by white Republicans since President Johnson pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act. When the bill was passed President Johnson said the South would vote Republican for 50 years. He was correct and incorrect as it will be 100 years before the South will stop voting Republican.

    December 3, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Guest

    joann – liberals obviously took the poll but it is all of America that will take the pole if Obama and his cronies get their way.

    December 3, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Tom

    Where on earth did you find the 10% that rated them as having high standards? Were they all the plutocrats who think "high standards" mean that Congressmen stay bought?

    December 3, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. SharpMind

    Oh.. come on now... I have had a uch better experience with the car salesmen than watching or interacting with any politician. Please don't insult the hardworking American citizens whether they are car salesmen, or janitors or regular office employee. They are much more honest and better than any of politican, state or federal.

    December 3, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. faboge

    this of course is the lowest rated congress in US history! They have approval rating just a bit better than Ebola!

    December 3, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Larry in Houston

    Term Limits will Never Happen in this country – No matter how much you and I and the rest if the country wants it – – – Think about it – when elections come around, what is the percentage of Voters that are Not Informed ? When they go into the voting booths, and Vote, and if ( IF ) well Over 50% of the Voters aren't Informed, who do you think they Vote For ?? Answer : They try to "remember" who was in office last time, who's Name was on the Last Billboard they passed – when they read the latest newspaper – or who was the last person in their district they saw on t.v. – – – they also know who got FEDERAL MONEY for That Voter(s) in their District – to fill the pot holes in their town – how about federal money to Build New Libraries for Your kids ? how about building a new bridge, so you don't have to drive all the way across town, to go to the other side of the river, to go shopping ? or whatever – How about bringing enough Federal Money to feed the Deer or birds , in Your State Park for the next 3 or 4 years ? How about bringing enough MONEY IN From The Federal Gov't , to Dig another Lake or Pond in Your State Park ?

    I mean, the List Just Goes On & On & On – – –

    That's why they Keep Electing & Re – electing these people . ( There are other reasons also, But I'm not going to write a book

    December 3, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Seems to me our entire system of government is due for a major overhaul; what's in place apparently isn't working any more. We need a 1 term president with 7 years in office; without having to worry about keeping his/her party happy, they could actually deal with governing the country; Senators and Congressmen, one 8 year term and out; no more career politicians, that's what has gotten this country into the state from which it currently suffers. No more lobbeys, no more non-Patriots like Norquist behind the scenes.We need to return to a way where someone like Abraham Lincoln can be elected again; of course this will never happen but wouldn't it be nice? A government you can believe in: WOW.

    December 3, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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