Oil, Pharmaceutical, Health Insurance, and Tobacco Top The List Of Industries That People Think Should Be More Regulated

Telecommunications industry least trusted to handle personal information

Dec 02, 2010, 07:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Dec. 2, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Harris Poll finds that the oil, pharmaceutical, health insurance and tobacco industries top the list of industries that people believe should be more regulated. These industries, as well as the telecommunications and automobile industries, are the least likely to be thought of as honest and trustworthy. The telecommunications and managed care industries are the least trusted to handle personally identified information.

On the positive side, few people say supermarkets, computer hardware and software companies, hospitals and online retailers should be more regulated.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,151 adults surveyed online between November 8 and 15, 2010 by Harris Interactive®.

The main findings of this survey include:

  • When asked which of a list of 17 industries are generally honest and trustworthy, almost half (48%) of all adults say "none of these" which is the highest number giving this negative response since we first asked this question in 2003;
  • The industries that are trusted by the most people are supermarkets (29%), hospitals (29%), banks (20%) and electric and gas utilities (19%).  The industries that are trusted by the fewest people are tobacco (2%), oil (4%), telecommunications (7%), and managed care companies (7%);
  • The industries that the largest numbers of people believe should be more regulated are oil (47%), pharmaceuticals (46%), health insurance (42%), tobacco (38%), banks (34%), and managed care (34%); and,
  • Majorities of the public say that they have at least some trust in industries that handle personally identifiable information to do so in a confidential and secure manner, including banks (70%), hospitals (69%), life insurance (57%), health insurance (55%), online retailers (55%), software companies (54%) and pharmaceutical companies (53%).  However, less than a quarter of all adults have a "great deal of trust" in any industry.

Large changes over time

There have been substantial changes in the ratings of some industries over the last few years as a result of major crises affecting them as well as changes in media coverage:

  • Trust in the honesty of banks fell sharply from 40% in 2004 to only 12% in 2009.  This has recovered modestly to 20% this year. Those favoring more regulation of banks jumped from 17% in 2006 to 40% in 2009, and has now fallen back a little to 34% this year.
  • In 2003, fully 60% of adults wanted to see more regulation of managed care companies and 59% wanted to see more regulation of the health insurance industry. These numbers have fallen to 34% and 42% respectively – still high compared to most other industries but far better than they were.

So what?

Public attitudes to different industries are multi-facetted.  For example banks get relatively good marks for handling confidential personal information and are more trusted than most other industries, but they are also high on the list of industries that people think should be more regulated.  These attitudes can also change substantially if an industry is in crisis or receives a great deal of media publicity.  And, these public attitudes matter a great deal.  An industry with high negative ratings on criteria like these is more likely to be attacked by political leaders and the media and will therefore be more likely to be the target of regulatory or legislative action.

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


CHANGES


2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2000-
2010

2003-
2010


%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Supermarkets

40

42

39

34

32

30

36

29

-7

-11

Hospitals

34

35

34

28

28

31

28

29

+1

-5

Banks

35

40

34

31

30

21

12

20

+8

-15

Electric and gas utilities

n/a

n/a

14

14

15

16

16

19

+3

n/a

Computer hardware companies

27

29

27

20

18

17

23

16

-7

-11

Computer software companies

22

25

22

23

17

16

20

15

-5

-7

Airlines

20

22

17

16

11

11

10

12

+2

-8

Online retailers

n/a

n/a

16

11

10

10

16

12

-4

n/a

Packaged food companies

23

23

21

14

12

13

16

11

-5

-12

Pharmaceutical and drug companies

13

14

9

7

11

10

9

11

+2

-2

Life insurance companies

11

15

10

11

10

9

10

10

-

-1

Car manufacturers

14

18

13

9

11

10

8

8

-

-6

Health insurance companies

7

9

9

7

7

7

7

8

+1

+1

Managed care companies such as HMOs

4

5

5

4

5

5

5

7

+2

+3

Telephone/Telecommunication companies

12

13

11

10

10

9

10

7

-3

-5

Oil Companies

4

4

3

3

3

4

5

4

-1

-

Tobacco companies

3

4

4

2

3

2

3

2

-1

-1

None of these

37

32

37

40

44

44

44

48

+4

11


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

CHANGES

2009-
2010

2003-
2010


%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Oil companies

52

48

55

54

53

53

47

47

-

-5

Pharmaceutical and drug companies

57

55

51

48

53

49

47

46

-1

-11

Health insurance companies

59

56

46

48

52

49

45

42

-3

-17

Tobacco companies

44

42

36

38

41

31

33

38

+5

-6

Managed care companies such as HMOs

60

55

43

41

45

39

36

34

-2

-26

Banks

21

20

19

17

20

36

40

34

-6

+13

Electric and gas utilities

n/a

n/a

43

38

41

34

32

33

+1

n/a

Airlines

31

27

26

21

30

23

23

27

+4

-4

Life insurance companies

35

34

26

24

28

25

27

27

-

-8

Car manufacturers

24

24

24

19

22

16

21

26

+5

+2

Hospitals

35

35

28

28

33

27

25

25

-

-10

Packaged food companies

26

24

17

19

30

20

20

24

+4

-2

Telephone/Telecommunication companies

30

31

26

23

25

19

20

23

+3

-7

Online retailers

n/a

n/a

14

13

13

9

10

12

+2

n/a

Computer software companies

11

9

8

7

9

6

6

9

+3

-2

Computer hardware companies

8

8

7

7

9

5

5

9

+4

+1

Supermarkets

10

8

6

6

9

6

5

8

+3

-2

None of these

20

20

25

23

19

22

28

30

+2

+10


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



TABLE 3
TRUST WITH YOUR INFORMATION
"How much trust do you have in each of the following to handle your personally identified information (such as credit card information, contact information and so forth) in a properly confidential and secure manner?"

Base: All U.S. adults


Trust

(NET)

A great deal of trust

Some trust

Do not trust (NET)

Not much trust

No trust at all

%

%

%

%

%

%

Banks

70

22

48

30

19

11

Hospitals

69

22

47

31

21

10

Life insurance companies

57

13

45

43

28

15

Health insurance companies

55

12

43

45

28

16

Online retailers

55

7

47

45

29

16

Computer software companies

54

6

48

46

31

15

Pharmaceutical and drug companies

53

10

43

47

30

18

Managed care companies such as HMOs

50

9

41

50

32

18

Telecommunications companies

45

5

39

55

35

21


Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding



Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States November 8 and 15, 2010 among 2,151 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.

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

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

J39117

Q905, 910, 915

The Harris Poll® #149, December 2, 2010

By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom 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 expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, 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, Inc.

212-539-9600

press@harrisinteractive.net



SOURCE Harris Interactive



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