Politicians trusted less than estate agents, bankers and journalists

New polling by Ipsos MORI shows that the British public are less likely to trust politicians to tell the than estate agents, bankers and journalists.

Politicians trusted less than estate agents, bankers and journalists

New polling by Ipsos MORI shows that the British public are less likely to trust politicians to tell the than estate agents, bankers and journalists.

Just 16% of Britons trust politicians to tell the truth compared with 22% trusting journalists and estate agents and 31% who trust bankers.

This question has been asked consistently since 1983, making it the longest-running series on trust in key professions in the UK. This helps highlight that low trust in politicians is long-standing: only 18% trusted them to tell the truth in 1983, and they reached a low point of only 13% trusting them in 2009, in the wake of the expenses scandal. 

Other key findings include:

  • Doctors remain clearly the most trusted profession, with 90% trusting them to tell the truth
  • Other key public service professions are also highly trusted, including teachers (86%), the police (66%) and civil servants (55%)
  • Civil servants in particular have seen a large increase in trust since 1983: only 25% said they trusted civil servants to tell the truth in 1983 compared with 55% now
  • There has also been a consistent increase in trust in scientists in recent years: now 83% trust scientists to tell the truth, compared with 63% in 1997
  • In contrast, trust in the clergy/priests has declined significantly, from 85% in 1983 to 71% now
  • Trust in bankers has bounced back from 2013, when only 21% trusted them to tell the truth to 31% saying they trust them now
  • Managers in the NHS have also seen an increase in trust, from 40% when it was last asked in 2011 to 49% now

 Bobby Duffy, Director of the Social Research Institute at Ipsos MORI said:

“These long term trends remind us that the crisis of trust in politicians is nothing new – we were measuring similarly low levels of trust over 30 years ago.  But that doesn’t make it any less serious a challenge, particularly as we come up to an election that will be fiercely fought. This long-running study also shows that trust levels are not fixed, and do shift as the context changes – which is seen particularly in the increasing trust in scientists and civil servants and decreasing trust in the clergy. ”

Technical note

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,116 adults aged 15+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 5th – 19th December 2014.  Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. Where percentages do not sum to 100 this may be due to computer rounding.

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