Congress Gets Low Marks For Honesty

Being cynical about Congress is an American tradition that goes back to Mark Twain and Will Rogers, if not earlier, and it appears to be alive and well:

Americans’ opinion of congressional honesty has improved over the past year, but lawmakers are still more distrusted than even used car salesmen, according to a poll released Monday.

More than half of Americans — 54 percent — have a low or very low opinion of congressional honesty and ethics, Gallup found. That’s improved from 2011, when 64 percent had a low or very low opinion. Ten percent had a high or very high opinion of congressional trustworthiness, up from 7 percent a year ago.

The only similarly distrusted profession is used car salesmen: Only 8 percent trust them, and 49 percent do not.

It’s surprising there’s not more crossover between these two professions.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And every time I hear John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte or any of the other clown car parade on Benghazi open their traps to complain about Susan Rice not telling the “truth” about the attack, I just want to scream. If I had a nickle for every lie I had heard a politician utter, including those 3, I could pay Drew to wash my Rolls.

  2. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It’s surprising there’s not more crossover between these two professions.

    Not a lot of used car salesmen, but a lot of lawyers:

    Law degrees are held by 167 Members of the House (38% of the total House) and 55 Senators (55% of the total Senate).

  3. Tony W says:

    Everybody hates on the lawyers, but the ones I’ve dealt with personally have been fine people all – genuinely wishing to help. The profession certainly has more than its fair share of hooligans, but I hesitate to paint with too broad a brush.

    That said, I have met a half-dozen congress members during my life – and every time I wanted to go home and take a shower afterwards…yuck.

  4. Tsar Nicholas says:

    What’s really scary is that 8% and 10% of Zombieland respectively do have according to that survey high regards for the trustworthiness of used car salesmen and Congresscritters. Think about that. How naive can one be? Hopefully most of those responses were people just trolling or being contrary merely for the sake of being contrary. Otherwise, yikes.

    Speaking of lack of honesty and overall bad ethics, I have to say in my experience low-rent plaintiff’s personal injury attorneys are at the absolute bottom of the totem pole, even below politicians, used car salesmen and other grifters. Just a horrible demographic. Irredeemable.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    It’s only because their lips are moving.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    And yet everyone keeps reelecting them.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:


    And yet everyone keeps reelecting them.

    Not me. I haven’t voted for a Republican in decades, but that is all that ever gets elected around here.