NEWS25 January 2016

Public trust in politicians remains low

News Public Sector Trends UK

UK – While doctors continue to be the most trusted profession ( 89% trust them to tell the truth), politicians are the least trusted profession according to an Ipsos MORI poll.

Public trust in politicians has always been low: at no point since 1983 have more than a quarter of the public ever trusted politicians to tell the truth. The lowest trust score was recorded in 2009 in the wake of the expenses scandal, when only 13% said they trusted politicians.

And despite the problems with predicting the 2015 General Election, trust in pollsters has remained at the same level as that recorded in 2014 – 53% trust pollsters.

Other key public service professions that are highly trusted include teachers ( 86%),  judges ( 80%), scientists ( 79%) and the police ( 68%).

The clergy continue to drop in terms of public trust. While 67% say they trust them to tell the truth, overall trust has dropped 18 percentage points since 1983 when they were the most trusted profession.

Trust in bankers has risen – up eight percentage points since 2011 – but is still relatively low at 37%.

Bobby Duffy, director of the Social Research Institute at Ipsos MORI said: "Public trust in politicians remains steadfastly low, at the very bottom of the list of professions alongside journalists, government ministers and estate agents. But it’s good to remind ourselves that this is not a ‘new crisis of trust’ – from this long-running survey we can see that public trust has been an issue for politicians for at least the past 33 years.

"And perhaps most notably public trust in the ordinary man or woman in the street is at the highest level we’ve ever recorded. All generations have increased their level of trust – which is encouraging and important. We saw a big dip in trust in other people following the terrorist attacks in 2001, but we’re not seeing the same impact from recent events."

Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 990 adults aged 18+ at 171 sampling points across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted face-to-face between 5th December 2015 and 4th January 2016. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.