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Oil, Pharmaceutical, Health Insurance, Tobacco, Banking and Utilities Top The List Of Industries That People Would Like To See More Regulated

Less than 10% of adults think that tobacco, oil, social media, managed care and telecom industries are "generally honest and trustworthy"

NEW YORK, Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An annual Harris Poll that measures the percentage of Americans perceiving 19 large industries as "generally honest and trustworthy" finds that the most trusted industries are supermarkets and hospitals, followed distantly by online search engines, computer software companies, banks, computer hardware companies and electric and gas utilities. The poll also finds that industries which the largest percentages of U.S. adults would like to see "more regulated" are oil, pharmaceutical, health insurance, tobacco, banking, electric and gas utilities and managed care companies such as HMOs.  The banking industry has made some gains since last year, but is still well off their highs from 2004.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,383 adults surveyed online between November 14 and 19, 2012 by Harris Interactive.  

When asked which industries are generally honest and trustworthy so that you normally believe a statement by a company in that industry, over one-third of Americans (36%) reply "none of these," a decrease from last year when 43% indicated the same. The industries that are least trusted are tobacco (3%), oil (6%), social media (8%), managed care (9%), telecom (9%), health insurance (11%), pharmaceuticals (12%), car manufacturers (12%), airlines (12%) and life insurance (12%).  The industries trusted by the highest percentages of Americans are supermarkets (38%), hospitals (36%), online search engines (22%), computer software and hardware companies (20% each), banks (20%) and electric and gas utilities (20%). The biggest changes since last year on this question are an 8-point gain in those who trust banks and a 7-point gain for both supermarkets and hospitals.

When asked which of the 19 industries should be more regulated by government, three in ten Americans select "none of these" (31%). The industries that the largest percentages of U.S. adults would like to see more regulated are oil (45%), pharmaceuticals (43%), health insurance (40%), banks (34%), tobacco (34%), electric and gas utilities (31%) and managed care companies such as HMOs (30%).  Few U.S. adults (less than 10%) want to see more regulation of computer hardware and software companies (5% and 6% respectively), online search engines (8%), supermarkets (8%), or online retailers (9%).  The biggest change from last year is a drop of 5 points (from 39% to 34%) in those who would like to see more regulation of banks.

So What?
These numbers, including the changes since last year, reflect both Americans' actual experiences of interacting with these industries and the media coverage, positive and negative, of each.  For example, the improvement in the numbers for the banking industry has surely been influenced by the work those in the industry have done to help its image.  And, the small 3 point increase in those saying social media companies need to be more regulated may be due to the privacy issues that have recently been in the media. 

History tells us these numbers matter.  The better an industry's image, the less likely it is to be targeted by the media or by legislators and regulators.

TABLE 1
INDUSTRIES THAT ARE GENERALLY HONEST AND TRUSTWORTHY - TREND
"Which of these industries do you think are generally honest and trustworthy – so that you normally believe a statement by a company in that industry?"

Base: All U.S. adults


2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

CHANGES

2011-

2012

2003-

2012

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Supermarkets

40

42

39

34

32

30

36

29

31

38

+7

-2

Hospitals

34

35

34

28

28

31

28

29

29

36

+7

+2

Online search engines

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

21

22

+1

n/a

Computer software companies

22

25

22

23

17

16

20

15

20

20

0

-2

Banks

35

40

34

31

30

21

12

20

12

20

+8

-15

Computer hardware companies

27

29

27

20

18

17

23

16

22

20

-2

-7

Electric and gas utilities

n/a

n/a

14

14

15

16

16

19

16

20

+4

n/a

Online retailers

n/a

n/a

16

11

10

10

16

12

16

16

0

n/a

Packaged food companies

23

23

21

14

12

13

16

11

14

16

+2

-7

Life insurance companies

11

15

10

11

10

9

10

10

11

12

+1

+1

Airlines

20

22

17

16

11

11

10

12

9

12

+3

-8

Car manufacturers

14

18

13

9

11

10

8

8

12

12

0

-2

Pharmaceutical and drug companies

13

14

9

7

11

10

9

11

8

12

+4

-1

Health insurance companies

7

9

9

7

7

7

7

8

8

11

+3

+4

Telecommunication companies

12

13

11

10

10

9

10

7

8

9

+1

-3

Managed care companies such as HMOs

4

5

5

4

5

5

5

7

7

9

+2

+5

Social media companies

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

8

8

0

n/a

Oil companies

4

4

3

3

3

4

5

4

6

6

0

+2

Tobacco companies

3

4

4

2

3

2

3

2

3

3

0

0

None of these

37

32

37

40

44

44

44

48

43

36

-7

-1

Note: Multiple-response question; n/a = industry not asked about that year

TABLE 2
INDUSTRIES THAT SHOULD BE MORE REGULATED - TREND
"Which of these industries do you think should be more regulated by government – for example for health, safety or environmental reasons – than they are now?"

Base: All U.S. adults


2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

CHANGES

2011-

2012

2003-

2012

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Oil companies

52

48

55

54

53

53

47

47

44

45

+1

-7

Pharmaceutical and drug companies

57

55

51

48

53

49

47

46

42

43

+1

-14

Health insurance companies

59

56

46

48

52

49

45

42

40

40

0

-19

Tobacco companies

44

42

36

38

41

31

33

38

33

34

+1

-10

Banks

21

20

19

17

20

36

40

34

39

34

-5

+13

Electric and gas utilities

n/a

n/a

43

38

41

34

32

33

33

31

-2

n/a

Managed care companies such as HMOs

60

55

43

41

45

39

36

34

31

30

-1

-30

Life insurance companies

35

34

26

24

28

25

27

27

23

26

+3

-9

Airlines

31

27

26

21

30

23

23

27

25

25

0

-6

Hospitals

35

35

28

28

33

27

25

25

22

25

+3

-10

Packaged food companies

26

24

17

19

30

20

20

24

21

22

+1

-4

Telecommunication companies

30

31

26

23

25

19

20

23

21

20

-1

-10

Car manufacturers

24

24

24

19

22

16

21

26

14

17

+3

-7

Social media companies

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

9

12

+3

n/a

Online retailers

n/a

n/a

14

13

13

9

10

12

8

9

+1

n/a

Online search engines

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

6

8

+2

n/a

Supermarkets

10

8

6

6

9

6

5

8

7

8

+1

-2

Computer software companies

11

9

8

7

9

6

6

9

5

6

+1

-5

Computer hardware companies

8

8

7

7

9

5

5

9

5

5

0

-3

None of these

20

20

25

23

19

22

28

30

35

31

-4

+11

Note: Multiple-response question; n/a = industry not asked about that year

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 14 and 19, 2012 among 2,383 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J42318
Q755, 760

The Harris Poll® #68, December 18, 2012
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients—stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
[email protected]

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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