Clergy used to rank near the top in polls asking Americans to rate the honesty and ethics of people in various professions. In 2013, for the first time since Gallup began asking the question in 1977, fewer than half said clergy have “high” or “very high” moral standards. Opinions differed markedly by party, with Republicans viewing clergy far more favorably than Democrats. Overall, 47 percent of respondents gave clergy “high” or “very high” ratings, a sharp drop in confidence from the 67 percent reported in 1985. Among Republicans, 63 percent gave clergy one of the two top ratings for ethics, compared with 40 percent of Democrats.
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