What’s Up, Doc?

Americans complain ad nauseam about the healthcare system, but that doesn’t stop them from putting doctors atop a Harris Poll’s rankings of the most prestigiousprofessions. Nor do complaints about the education system deter people from making teachers the runners-up, with 54 percent saying they have “very great prestige” (versus 61 percent saying this of doctors). Also in the top five: scientists (53 percent), ministers/clergy (43 percent) and military officers (40 percent). At the bottom of the list, respondents favored labor over capital: 17 percent said union leaders have very great prestige, while 12 percent said this of businessmen, with bankers falling in between (16 percent). On the other hand, union leaders had the survey’s highest “no prestige at all” tally (25 percent), beating lawyers (21 percent) for that distinction. Elsewhere in the poll, engineers outpointed architects in the very-great-prestige ratings (36 percent vs. 28 percent), while athletes (22 percent) beat entertainers (20 percent). In the public sector, policemen (37 percent) fared better than members of Congress (24 percent). Since 1977, teachers have made the greatest gain (up 25 percentage points) and lawyers have had the biggest decline (down 18 percentage points).