Survey Says: Doctors, Teachers and Accountants Tell the Truth

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A recent Harris Interactive poll of 1,002 adults in the United States found that 85 percent would trust their doctors to tell them the truth, up from 77 percent in 2002, the last time the survey was conducted. Accountants made the most significant gains in the ranks of professionals most trusted by the public, with 68 percent of the respondents saying they would trust their accountants, compared with 55 percent in 2002.

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Teachers, police officers, professors and scientists also made the top ranks of trusted professions. More than 70 percent of the public responded affirmatively to the question, “Would you generally trust each of the following types of people to tell the truth or not?” when these professions or occupations were named.

Stockbrokers, lawyers and actors ranked at the bottom of the list, with less than 30 percent of those questioned saying they would trust them to tell the truth.

Over half the occupations measured showed an increase in public perception of trustworthiness over the past four years, a reversal of the trend from 2002 when most occupations saw a decrease, the survey report said.

The two occupations that showed the most dramatic drop were the President (a decrease of 17 percentage points, from 65 percent in 2002, to 48 percent) and public opinion pollsters (a drop of 10 points, to 34 percent).

Harris Interactive concluded their poll with a look at themselves.

“Even though many polls (at least in the national elections) generally do an accurate job, a 54 to 34 percent majority of the U.S. adult public does not believe that pollsters generally tell the truth. Obviously, the results are disturbing to those of us in the public polling profession. This should be seen as a wake-up call to the pollsters that we must do more to educate the public about surveys and work more to earn the public's trust.”

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