By Haddon Libby

How would you rate the ethics and honesty of people in different jobs?  The analytics company, Gallup, has been tracking this data since 1977.  Gallup is best known for their public opinion polls.  As with most things in American society, there is an increasing divide between Democrats and Republicans on people’s ethics.  While few professions do well, the medical profession is rated much higher than other jobs.

People have the most favorable opinion of nurses with 79% of Americans feeling that people in this profession have high or very high ethics and honesty.  Only 4% have a low or very low opinion of this profession.  People who identify more with Democratic policies give nurses 86% approval scores while three in four Republicans feel highly about nurses.  Since Gallup added nurses to the survey in 1999, the favorability score has improved from 73% to 79%.

Medical doctors come in second with a 62% favorability score with 10% thinking poorly of them.  Three in four Democrats think highly of doctors while only one in two Republicans do.  Included in the survey since 1977, doctor scores have improved by 6% over the period.


Pharmacists were added to the survey five years after doctors.  In 1982, three in five pharmacists were considered favorably, a full 10% higher than doctors.  Only 11 years ago, three in four Americans though highly of pharmacists.  Since that time, pharmacists have continually fallen, reaching its lowest favorable rating ever in 2022 of 58%.

The only educators ranked are high school teachers.  This group has the highest favorability score of 53% with 15% feeling poorly about the profession.  What is interesting here is that three in four Democrats have a good opinion of teachers while less than two in five Republicans feel this way.  The difference between these two groups most likely is due to recent inclusion initiatives for LGBTQ youth and a belief that teachers are more liberal than other professions.

Police officers have a 50% favorable rating with 18% of Americans holding this job in low or very low standing.  Republicans give cops their second highest score with a 62% rating while Democrats rate this position in the middle of the pack with a 38% rating.

Democrats and Republicans agree on judges.  Two in five have a favorable opinion with 20% of people holding poor or very poor opinions.  Accountants get similar scores to judges although only 16% think poorly of them.

So which professions get the lowest scores?

62% of Americans feel that members of Congress suck with only one in ten feeling that they have high or very high ethics and honestly.  This opinion is consistent no matter your political affiliation.

Telemarketers have the second lowest score at 59%.  Only one in twelve people think highly of the field.

Something must be happening with car salespeople as only 44% of people think poorly of them.  The vast majority of folks at 44% did not have a strong opinion either way while 1 in 8 thought highly of them.

Besides high school teachers, the biggest difference between Democrats and Republicans was in the opinion of journalists.  40% of Democrats were favorable while only 9% of Republicans felt that way.  Overall, 42% of Americans thought poorly of the profession.

Like pharmacists, members of the clergy are seeing the lowest favorability scores in the history of the poll.  Once rivaling nurses in ethics and honesty, only one in three Americans have a high opinion anymore with 17% have an unfavorable view.

The most average fields were real estate agents at 55%, bankers at 54% with lawyers and accountants at 50%.

The takeaway from this poll is that there is a lot of room in most jobs to provide a better experience to the people who use your services.  The industrious who act with ethics and honesty in their profession can stand out from others.

Haddon Libby is the Founder and Chief Investment Officers of Winslow Drake Investment Management, a Registered Investment Advisory firm that serves individuals and businesses with investment accounts, IRAs and 401k.  For more information, please visit