Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM ET
Would you buy a used car from a member of Congress?
The answer, sadly, is probably not.
A new Gallup poll finds that only 10 percent of Americans rank the honesty and ethical standards of members of Congress as high or very high, while 54 percent give Congress low or very low marks for honesty and ethics.
That puts those elected officials right down there with car dealers: Only 8 percent of those polled gave car salespeople high marks for honest and ethical standards in the poll released Monday.
For Congress, there is a silver lining: They actually did better than last year, when only 7 percent of those polled gave them high marks for honest and ethics.
Still, both industries could apparently learn from the medical profession, and not just about how to properly give the Heimlich maneuver.
Nurses topped the Gallup list, with 85 percent of those polled giving nurses high marks for honesty and ethics. Pharmacists and doctors also got high praise in this area.
The Gallup poll of 1,015 U.S. adults, which was conducted in late November, had a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. Respondents were asked to rank the honesty and ethical standards of people in 22 professions as anywhere from very high to very low.
Of course, politicians and used car dealers have been thrown together in a negative light for decades. In the 1970s, National Lampoon famously asked readers of Richard Nixon, "Would you buy a used war from this man?"
Other elected officials fared slightly better than members of Congress in the Gallup poll released Monday. Fourteen percent said members of the Senate had high or very high levels of honesty and ethics, while 45 percent said those elected officials' honesty and ethical standards were low or very low.
Twenty percent said state governors had high or very high standards for honesty and ethics.
Journalists did slightly better than that, with 24 percent giving the fourth estate high marks for honesty and ethics.
How does your profession rank? Check out the full list here.