Lawyers are less trusted to tell the truth than hairdressers or priests, but those who reach the bench soar in the public’s esteem.
That is one finding of the Veracity Index, a poll undertaken by Ipsos Mori since 1983 which asks the public to rate the trustworthiness of professionals. Veracity is defined as ‘whether you would generally trust them to tell the truth’.
2016 saw nurses included in the rankings for the first time and they shot to the top of league, trusted by 93%. Nurses outrank doctors (91%), teachers (88%) and, in fourth place, judges – who edge up to 81% this year from 80% in 2015.
There is one caveat however: the poll of 1,019 adults was conducted before members of the senior judiciary were vilified as ‘enemies of the people’ by tabloid newspapers over the article 50 Brexit ruling.
Lawyers remain outside the top 10 but solidly in mid-table, trusted by 52% (also up a percentage point on last year).
The profession trails TV newsreaders (67%) and the clergy (69%). But it can at least console itself in the irony that it outflanks the embattled polling industry (49%), which took a battering in the wake of the last general election and the Brexit referendum.
Toward the bottom of the table languish bankers (37%) and business leaders (33%), just ahead of clichéd whipping boys (and girls) estate agents (30%) and journalists (24%). And in the era of post-Truth politics, supposedly embodied in the election of Donald Trump as US president, it is no surprise that politicians have consolidated their position in last place by slumping from 21% in 2015 to just 15%.