AARP ( American association of Retired People ) recently conducted an interesting poll. People on the street were asked ” Whom do you trust a great deal ?” The responses were divided ,according to the age of those responding, into two categories : respondents ages 18-49 and those over 50 , The results ( from the March 2013 AARP Bulletin ) are given below . If the numbers seem low , please remember that the question asked was ” Whom do you trust a great deal ?”
Ages 18-49 50 +
Used Car Salesman 3 % 5%
Corporate CEO 3 % 5 %
Member of Congress 11 % 12 %
The President 31 % 34 %
Your Banker 33 % 35 %
Your neighbors 27 % 50 %
Your religious leader 49 % 57 %
Your doctor 56 % 68 %
Your best friend 79 % 81 %
The numbers themselves are very interesting but even more interesting are the conclusions that can be drawn from them . For instance :
1. In every case , the over 50 group were more trusting than the younger group.That tells me , our level of trust increases as we grow older perhaps because we mellow with age , become less aggressive and more dependent.
The biggest jump ( from 27% to 50%) was our feelings about our neighbors and can perhaps be traced to the fact that the older we are, the more likely we are to have lived longer with the same neighbors.
2.It is not surprising that used car salesmen are those least trusted but it is surprising that corporate Ceo’s have identical numbers . It is indicative of the public’s feelings of outrage in the aftermath of the fiscal crisis as these bigwigs continue to rake in millions of dollars even as the rest of us are struggling.
3. Members of Congress don’t fare well either . Not surprising in light of their dismal performance in getting anything done . It would have been interesting to see what the public felt about Senators . My guess is that they would have been substantially higher , perhaps closer to those polled by the President.
4. I’m surprised that bankers pulled in better numbers than the President. After all , they had a large part in the fiscal crisis.
5. It isn’t surprising that we trust our doctors more than our religious leaders. We don’t have a one-on-one interaction with our religious leaders. Besides , there have been more scandals and foolishness associated with religious leaders of all stripes than with the medical profession.
6. The table didn’t have an entry for spouses and perhaps it’s just as well . With the current state of marriage , the percentage would have been low , most likely in the 40% to 45% range .