Fewer and fewer Australians are holding their elected representatives in open contempt, never mind what they might say if they bump into Peter Costello at the shops.

The latest Roy Morgan Image of Profession survey records a surge in popular approval of politicians, with the number of Australians holding their Federal Members in “high” or “very high”: regard a figure that has jumped 7% in the past 12 months to 23%. This will be some consolation for our MPs, but it must still be a sobering thought that they trail the survey leaders, nurses, by 66%.

Nurses, as they have every year since they were included in the survey in 1994, have topped the poll: 89% of Australians rate them high or very high, followed by pharmacists (86%) and doctors (79%). Dentists can manage only 70% and it’s likely that most people are just ranking them high as some sort of subconscious defence reflex.

Scum of the earth again by popular consensus are car salesmen (4%) winning the battle for the wooden spoon as they have every year since 1979, despite the close attentions of television reporters (16%) newspaper journalists (14%) and talk back radio hosts (18%).

The good news for journalists is that their reputations are on the rise. These figures represent a 3% increase for TV reporters and a 2% rise for their newspaper peers.

The other bottom feeders, perennial as the grass, are advertising people (9%) and estate agents (10%). And only 21% of people like business executives. Tough times indeed. Oh and only 35% of people think much of lawyers. But you knew that.

The full results are here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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