By Aaron Earls
After reaching a historic low last year, the percentage of Americans who give pastors high marks for honesty inched upward.
The latest Gallup survey of Americans’ opinions and trust of specific occupations found clergy improving from 37% last year to 40% in 2020, marking the first increase in a decade.
Overall, medical practitioners dominate the top of the list, with nurses ranked highest (85%) for the 18th straight year.
Two-thirds of Americans (66%) rate the ethics and honesty of engineers “very high” or “high.” Doctors (65%), pharmacists (64%), and dentists (61%) are also seen as honest and ethical.
In addition to clergy (40%), the public is more divided on police officers (54%), college teachers (49%), psychiatrists (43%) and chiropractors (41%).
Fewer trust journalists (28%), bankers (28%), labor union leaders (24%), lawyers (22%), business executives (20%), and state governors (20%).
The least trusted occupations are stockbrokers (14%), advertising practitioners (13%), insurance salespeople (13%), senators (13%), members of Congress (12%) and car salespeople (9%).
While public trust of clergy rebounded this year, the 40% who rate them as honest and ethical falls well short of the high-water mark of 67% in 1985.
In the 2020 survey, non-white Americans (31%) were less likely than white Americans (45%) to give pastors high honesty grades.
Currently, 15% of Americans rate the honesty and ethics of clergy as “low” or “very low.”
Pastors have their biggest reputation problem with those with a high school diploma or less, where 1 in 5 (20%) give clergy low marks for trustworthiness.
The age demographic most likely to say pastors have low honesty and ethics are the 35- to 54-year-olds (18%). Fewer 18- to 34-year-olds (12%) and 55 and older (13%) rate clergy as low or very low.
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.