As you’ll read today, polling shows most voters see an unethical trend in our political leadersihp—but what do you think? All things considered, have the ethical standards of politicians sunk to a new low? Anthony Weiner, John Edwards and Arnold Schwarzenegger are three recent cases to support the claim that ethical standards have sunk to a new low.
A new poll commissioned by The Hill shows more than two-thirds of American voters think that the ethical standards of politicians have fallen over the past generation. A majority (58%) say most members of Congress are outright unethical. Only one in four voters thinks a majority of Congress have any principles at all.
Many polls over the years have documented our falling confidence in government and trust of those in political office. The Hill poll confirms this trend, showing that most Americans think most politicians are unethical and disapprove of their job performance. And one political party doesn’t get better marks than another. Voters equally distrust Republicans and Democrats.
Are women politicians less prone than their male counterparts to unethical behavior? Let’s make that question more concrete. Is it harder to imagine a Congresswoman’s “Weinergate” than a Congressman’s? Is it less likely that a woman politician would send lewd photos or engage in sexting?
The Hill poll didn’t ask a question that specific, but they did ask about perceived differences in the trustworthiness of men and women politicians. While most voters (60%) said they didn’t see a difference, a significant minority did. Thirty-three percent said that men in political office are less ethical. A mere 5% said men in political office were more trustworthy.
But, I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this: