Poll: Government Is the Least Popular of Any Major Industry in the U.S.

Health care, pharmaceuticals and other traditionally unpopular sectors still beat out Uncle Sam.

The image of the federal government took a beating in the latest annual Gallup survey of business-sector favorability.

Government ranked dead last in positive views, with only 28 percent of respondents rating it favorably, compared with a whopping 66 percent holding favorable views of the restaurant industry and the computer sector, according to the survey released on Monday.

The government was lumped last even with other negatively viewed industries, such as pharmaceuticals (28 percent positive) and health care (34 percent), in responses from 1,032 adults nationwide interviewed from Aug. 3-7.

“At a time of persistently low public trust in the federal government, and with many more Americans rating the federal government negatively than positively,” Gallup wrote, “it is reassuring that Americans tend to view the bulk of 25 major U.S. business and industry sectors positively.”

Twenty-eight percent of respondents rated the government positively, 16 percent were neutral, and 55 percent were negative, a higher thumbs-down score than pharmaceuticals (51 percent).

The government’s Gallup score has not been high in decades. It scored 41 percent favorability in 2003, then dropped down to 18 percent in 2008 at the end of the George W. Bush administration. It rose briefly to 29 percent at the start of President Obama’s tenure but fell to 17 percent in August 2011, before gradually creeping up to 28 this year.

Other low-scoring industries included the oil and gas, and the legal field.

“Two other industries – health care and pharmaceuticals -- have gone down in public esteem,” Gallup wrote. “Although Democrats continue to be more positive than Republicans about the health care industry, as they have since 2013 when major components of the Affordable Care Act began to take effect, the health care industry is now at a five-year low.”

The most improved industry in favorability? Airlines (41 percent, up by 12 points over the previous year).