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09-21-2009, 03:20 PM
Americans Now View Congress As Least Respected Job
Monday, September 21, 2009 Email to a Friend ShareThis.Advertisement
With the health care debate raging in Washington, D.C., there’s one change Americans clearly believe in: Members of Congress have now surpassed corporate CEOs to hold the least favorably regarded profession in the country.

Rasmussen Reports periodically asks adults their views of nine major professions. In both June and February, corporate chief executive officers rated at the very bottom, no surprise really given the country’s economic straits. Members of Congress in both surveys came in next to last - but not any more.

Just one-out-of-four Americans (25%) have a favor opinion of members of Congress. Seventy-two percent (72%) view them unfavorably. There’s some intensity in that perception, too. Only four percent (4%) have a very favorable view of congressmen, while 37% view them very unfavorably.

Even 56% of Democrats have an unfavorable view of Congress although their party controls both the House and the Senate. Of course, their opposition pales next to the 86% of Republicans and 81% of adults not affiliated with either party who have an unfavorable opinion of Congress.

But then voters are evenly divided over whether a group of people randomly selected from the phone book would do a better job than the current Congress.

CEOs don’t fare much better, with 27% who see them in a favorable light and 69% who regard them unfavorably. Only three percent (3%) have a very favorable opinion versus 35% with a very unfavorable one.

Government workers are more critical of CEOs than entrepreneurs and those who work for a private company.

For the third survey in a row, small business owners remain the most highly regarded profession. Ninety-four percent (94%) have a favorable view of them, while just three percent (3%) view them unfavorably. These numbers are little changed but slightly more positive than in the previous surveys.

Favorable Ratings for Professions


Small Business Owners

People Who Start Own Business

Pastors and Religious Leaders




Stockbrokers and Fin Analysts


Members of Congress

Economic confidence among small business owners as measured by the Discover ® Small Business Watch (SM) has jumped to an 18-month high.

Right up there with them, as in the previous surveys, are those who start their own businesses, viewed favorably by 92% and unfavorably by five percent (5%).

The third most highly regarded profession continues to be that of pastors and other religious leaders. Seventy percent (70%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of this profession. Twenty-two percent (22%) view it unfavorably.

The middle area remains inhabited by the same professions that were there in the previous surveys, although their rankings shift slightly. Bankers follow pastors, but there’s a 22-point drop-off: Americans are evenly divided in their views of bankers, 48% very favorable but 49% very unfavorable.

Next come journalists and reporters, seen favorably by 43% and unfavorably by 54%. Those with a very favorable opinion outnumber those with a very unfavorable view by two-to-one. Here there is a noticeable partisan divide: While 58% of Democrats view journalists favorably, 70% of Republicans and 55% of unaffiliateds do not.

Of course, as far as the public is concerned, the financially troubled news industry is on its own. Just 25% of American adults favor the creation of a White House commission to help save journalism jobs and find ways for struggling news organizations to survive. Sixty-five percent (65%) oppose a government bailout of the newspaper industry.

Virtually tied in terms of public opinion are lawyers and stockbrokers. Forty-two percent (42%) have a favorable opinion of lawyers, while 54% view them unfavorably. Similarly, stockbrokers and financial advisers are seen favorably by 41% and unfavorably by 54%.

Speaking of lawyers, 53% of voters say restricting jury awards in medical malpractice lawsuits would significantly reduce the cost of health care in the United States.