December 17, 2013

[Correction, 5 p.m.: The kind folks at Gallup alerted me to something I should have double checked. Turns out that November poll was from 2012, not last month. So, while Congress didn’t fall as quickly as I thought, car salespeople still beat them on the trust meter.]

Gallup’s new trustworthiness poll has everyone tittering over the low standing of Congress. Just 8 percent of those surveyed Dec. 5 – Dec. 8 rated the ethical standards of members of Congress “very high” or “high.” This shameful low puts them one point behind car salespeople.

(Gallup)
(Gallup)

But here’s what’s being ignored. Congress is viewed with such contempt that its trustworthiness actually dropped from a similar Gallup survey conducted just a week later. In the poll conducted Nov. 26 – Nov. 29, the federal legislature was viewed by 10 percent of the public to have “very high/high” honesty and ethical standards. Car salespeople were the ones with the 8 percent “very high/high” rating.

(Gallup)
(Gallup)

So, in one week, Congress fell two points and car salespeople ticked up one point. I can’t think of anything Congress did to warrant even lower ratings since Congress doesn’t do much of anything, budget passage notwithstanding. But I think I know why the standing of car salespeople improved: lobbyists (6 percent). Their inclusion surely made car salespeople look better by comparison.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.