Clergy and priests are the sixth most trustworthy group in society, according to an Ipsos MORI poll for the British Medical Association and published on 27 June. Fieldwork was conducted on 10-16 June 2011 among 1,026 adults aged 15 and over throughout the United Kingdom.
Respondents were read a list of 21 groups and asked which of them they generally trusted to tell the truth. Doctors scored most highly (88%), followed by teachers (81%), professors (74%), judges (72%), scientists (71%), and then clergy/priests on 68%. Politicians as a whole (14%), government ministers (17%), and journalists (19%) occupied the bottom three positions.
Clergy/priests were slightly more trusted by men than women, the over-55s than the young, non-manual than manual workers, those in full-time employment than non-workers, readers of ‘quality’ than ‘popular’ newspapers, whites than non-whites, and among Scots than the three other home nations. Overall, 20% of the sample did not trust clergy/priests, while 12% expressed no views on the subject.
The veracity rating of clergy/priests has fallen over time, from 85% in 1983, when Ipsos MORI first started asking the question. In that year they topped the list of 13 groups which were covered, even beating doctors by 3%. Although they still exceed the average rating, of 52% in 2011, clergy/priests have clearly suffered a loss of prestige over time, whereas doctors and teachers in particular have consolidated their position of trustworthiness.
Detailed computer tabulations for this year’s survey will be found at:
For trend data, go to: