Scientists and Doctors
Are Tops, Say Americans
Want a job that will wow them at parties? Then study the sciences.
That’s the message from the Harris Poll’s annual survey of attitudes toward a cross section of occupations. Of 1,011 adults surveyed nationwide, 51% said scientist was a job with “very great prestige.” Doctors were right behind with 50%, followed by military officers and teachers, each with 47%, and police officers, with 40%.
Of that top five, though, only the uniformed professions saw gains from the prior year. Military officers rose seven percentage points, while police climbed three points, moves that Harris attributed to the effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the war in Afghanistan.
Scientists fell two points from last year, while doctors dropped 11 percentage points. Teachers saw esteem for their positions fall seven percentage points, Harris said.
Amid the corporatescandals, at the bottom of this year’s list were accountants. Only 13% of those surveyed said they felt the profession carried “very great prestige,” down two percentage points.
Here are more highlights from the latest survey.
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“For each of the following, would you tell me if you feel it is an occupation of very great prestige, considerable prestige, some prestige or hardly any prestige at all?”
|Base: All Adults||Very Great Prestige||Considerable Prestige||Some Prestige||Hardly Any Prestige At All||Not Sure/ Refused|
|Member of Congress||27||30||29||11||3|
** In earlier surveys Harris used the words “policeman” (now changed to “police officer”) and businessman (now changed to “business executive”) which may account for the changes from 2001 to 2002.
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Trend for “very great prestige” from 1977 to 2002
|Base: All Adults||1977||1982||1992||1997||1998||2000||2001||2002||Changes since 2001||Changes since 1977|
|Police Officer **||NA||NA||34||36||41||38||37||40||+3||NA|
|Member of Congress||NA||NA||24||23||25||33||24||27||+3||NA|
|Business Executive **||18||16||19||16||18||15||12||18||+6||-|
NA not asked
** Questions contain reference to “man” in these profession titles reflecting how they were originally asked. They remain the same in order not to disrupt the trending of the data related to these professions.
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Methodology: This poll was conducted via telephone between Aug. 15 and 19, among a nationwide cross section of 1,011 adults. Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults and number of voice/telephone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Harris Interactive estimates the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus three percentage points compared to results if the entire adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.