PUBLIC trust in the clergy has decreased dramatically in the past year and the most overall among selected professions over the past 30 years, a new survey suggests. The average man or woman in the street was seen to be more trustworthy in 2020.
Nurses and doctors ranked the highest on the list of most trusted professions in the Ipsos MORI Veracity Index 2020, published on Thursday of last week, as they have been in recent years. Respectively, 93 and 91 per cent of respondents trusted these professionals to tell the truth. This was followed by engineers, teachers, judges, professors, scientists, and museum curators, all in the mid to low 80s.
Care workers, who have not been included on the list in previous years, also ranked highly (76 per cent) among the 1873 British adults who took part in two phone surveys in October.
A little more than half the respondents (54 per cent) trusted the clergy to tell the truth — a drop of nine percentage points in the past year alone, and 29 percentage points since 1983, representing the biggest negative difference of the dozens of professions included in the questionnaire in this period.
In 1983, 85 per cent of people said that they trusted the clergy to tell the truth; in 2015, the figure was 71 per cent (News, 21 August 2015).
Trust in doctors, professors, and the police, however, has increased by between seven and ten percentage points since 1983. Trade-union officials and civil servants enjoyed the greatest increased in this period (45 and 35 percentage points, respectively).
In 2020, the clergy sat in the middle of the list (number 15), higher than economists, pollsters, television newsreaders, charity chief executives, trade-union officials, and bankers (53 to 33 per cent). Charity bosses were 19th on the list (49 per cent). A previous survey from NfpSynergy suggested that religious charities enjoyed the least trust in the sector (News, 29 March 2018).
Among the least trusted to tell the truth, at seven per cent below the rest, were government ministers (16 per cent), politicians generally (15 per cent), and advertising executives (30 per cent).
While some professions have been on the list since 1983, the inclusion of other professions varies: in 2016, when hairdressers were included, they were considered to be more trusted than the clergy to tell the truth (News, 29 January 2016).
Letter, page 14