Which profession is the most trusted in the UK?

New polling by Ipsos MORI shows that nurses are the most trusted profession in the UK, followed closely by doctors, while politicians once again bring up the rear. Public trust in politicians has slipped a considerable six percentage points since last year, and they are now trusted to tell the truth by just 15% of the British public.

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The 2016 Veracity Index - Ipsos MORI's annual index of which jobs and professionals are most trusted by the public - shows:

  • 93% trust nurses to tell the truth, while doctors are trusted by 91%;

  • government ministers are the second least trusted profession (20%), and have less credibility with the public than journalists (24%), estate agents (30% - five percentage points higher than 2015) and bankers (37%);

  • women's trust in journalists is significantly lower than men's, with journalists being trusted by 28% of men but 21% of women; and

  • there has been an increase in distrust of pollsters this year, to 42% (although 49% say they trust them). There have also been rises in distrust of civil servants and business leaders.

At the end of a year during which we were told that the public had had enough of experts, 80% say they trust scientists. Economists, who are included in the index for the first time, come in the middle of the table, trusted by 48% - coincidentally, exactly the proportion of the electorate that voted 'Remain'. Economists are trusted more than trade union officials (43%) and bankers (37%), but less than lawyers civil servants (56%), the ordinary man or woman in the street (65%) and hairdressers (68%).

A joint report from Mumsnet and Ipsos MORI, released alongside this year's Veracity Index, uses Ipsos MORI's data and online focus groups of women voters on Mumsnet to explore their opinions about trust, truthfulness, information and experts during the EU referendum campaign.  The report shows that when it came to the decision to leave the EU, distrust in politicians, business leaders, pressure groups and the media was a crucial factor.

Also included in the report:

  • Even when they found themselves on the same 'side' as individual politicians, Mumsnet users were very reluctant to trust them or their campaign messages. Specific politicians were trusted much more when their EU referendum positions echoed views that they had previously expressed at the expense of their own career paths. Nick Clegg and David Davis came out better than others, but several voters said they didn't trust Boris Johnson on this issue from the start.

  • The people Mumsnet users often trusted most when deciding how to vote were their close family and friends, and a few admit that they got trapped in social media filter bubbles of like-minded folk.

Mumsnet CEO Justine Roberts said: "You have to have some sympathy with politicians - it's difficult to be straightforward, honest and transparent - key components of trust - whilst simultaneously toeing the party line. In today's world of social media and instant fact-checking the challenge is to find a new mode of political communication with the prospect of big rewards for those who crack it.'

Gideon Skinner, head of political research, Ipsos MORI, said: "There's been much discussion about the dawn of a "post-truth" era in politics, but our long-term trends show that politicians have never exactly been the most trusted of professions. Even so, lack of trust clearly played an important part in the EU referendum, with big differences between who remain and leave voters trusted, and the leave campaign mostly winning the argument. Understanding this dynamic is more complicated than simply that people are tired of experts, as this report shows "but which side of the fence you sat had an impact too."

Download the full report

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Last updated: over 1 year ago