Clergy used to rank near the top in polls asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethics of people. This year, for the first time, fewer than half of those polled said clergy have 'high' or 'very high' moral standards.
- Washington Post
But opinions on clergy differed markedly by party, with Republicans viewing them far more favourably than Democrats.
Overall, 47 percent of respondents to the survey gave clergy 'high' or 'very high' ratings, a sharp drop in confidence from the 67 percent of Americans who viewed them this way in 1985.
Among Republicans, 63 percent gave clergy one of the two top ratings for ethics, compared with 40 percent of Democrats.
In a piece accompanying the poll, Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey M. Jones wrote that Republicans might think more highly of clergy, police and military officers 'because those people work in traditional institutions in American society, which Republicans may hold in greater esteem because of their generally conservative ideology.'
'Greater religiosity among Republicans than among Democrats also factors in to Republicans’ higher ratings of clergy,' Jones added.
FULL STORY Poll shows respect for US clergy drops