Politics

Poll: Congress The Least Ethical Professionals

| by Robert Fowler

New polling indicates that Americans view members of Congress as the least ethical professionals in the country. Another profession that ranked low in perceived honesty was journalism.

On Dec. 19, a new Gallup poll found that respondents ranked members of Congress last in a list of 22 professional groups for honesty and integrity, The Washington Times reports.

While nurses topped the list with 84 percent, members of Congress dwindled at the bottom of the barrel, with only 8 percent of respondents agreeing that lawmakers on Capitol Hill exercise ethics and honesty.

As an isolated group, U.S. Senators scored a slightly better 12 percent while state governors managed an 18 percent approval in ethics. Journalism was also on the lower spectrum, with only 23 percent of respondents giving reporters high marks on integrity.

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Forty-one percent of respondents stated that they viewed journalists to have low ethical standards, indicating a declining trust in the media over the past several years. In 2009, only 31 percent of respondents to the same survey believed that reporters had little honesty or integrity, the Washington Examiner reports.

The survey also found that there is a partisan split in how people perceive college teachers. While 63 percent of self-identifying Democrats believed that teachers had high ethical standards, only 33 percent of Republicans agreed.

Overall, 47 percent of respondents believed that teachers demonstrate high ethical standards.

Law enforcement officers ranked higher on the spectrum of professional ethics, with 58 percent of respondents believing that the police exhibit high levels of honesty and integrity, a modest bump up from 56 percent in 2015.

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The survey signals that Americans' trust in Washington, D.C., lawmakers is currently in the sewer. President-elect Donald Trump has proposed imposing term limits on the House and Senate in order to curb perceived corruption and dishonesty, an idea that 75 percent of Americans were warm to in a 2013 Gallup survey, according to Pew Research Center.

On Nov. 9, the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, dismissed calls for Congress to pass a bill imposing term limits.

"We have term limits now — they're called elections," McConnell said, according to The Washington Post.

Sources: Pew Research Center, Washington Examiner, The Washington PostThe Washington Times / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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