Image From Houston Chronicle
It says a lot when an entire industry can be disliked even more than government but that's what the Gallup organization is reporting based on a poll it conducted asking Americans how they felt about 25 of the nation's largest industries.

They asked respondents to indicate whether they were positive, negative or neutral. And the oil & gas industry scored a 61 percent negative rating.

Loren Steffy, business reporter for the Houston Chronicle, says the rating is understandable given the misperceptions we have of the challenges of oil exploration/refining and production; and, the prevailing attitudes in the industry as well.

Steffy says that the oil industry tends to dismiss the American people as uneducated and unappreciative of the huge technological accomplishments. Certainly, most Americans don’t understand the complexity of energy production.

He added, "It’s worth noting that at the time of the Gallup poll, gasoline prices were rising, which doesn’t help public opinion. Also contributing: the industry’s profits at a time of rising gas prices and a perception of a poor environmental record."

Conversely, computers, the highest rated industry, scored 73 percent positive responses. Of the industries surveyed by Gallup, the majority that did well involve discretionary spending. The four with the most positive response are: the Internet; restaurants; retail; and computers.

The poll reflects the most negative impressions were incurred by the banking, oil and gas, and the pharmaceutical industry.

These are America's most hated industries:

1. Oil and gas Industry (61 percent negative): Nearly two-thirds of Americans have a negative view of oil and gas, falling below the U.S. government in the eyes of the public.

2. Banking (53 percent negative): The high volume of scandals in the U.S. and Europe, coupled with taxpayer bailouts, poor stewardship and excessive consumer fees probably should have earned banks first place in this poll... maybe next time!

3. Healthcare (42 percent negative): The good news here is that the 42 percent negative actually includes a 16 percent increase in positive ratings too.

4. Real estate (41 percent negative): This is an industry in free fall. Over the past 10 years,this industry's negative rating increased by 105 percent.

5. Pharmaceutical (38 percent negative): The good news is that critical medical breakthroughs are emerging... the bad news is that the cures we may need in the future might be affordable only if you hit Lotto.

6. Electric and gas utilities (38 percent negative): Shortages, brownouts, monopolies, rising prices.

7. The legal field (37 percent negative): Shakespeare had it right when he wrote "First, kill all the lawyers."

8. Television and radio (36 percent negative): When it comes to media, there's no getting around the general mistrust that seems to be growing. But, there's no bias, is there?

9. Movie industry (35 percent negative): Is it the high cost of movies, the lack of good ones, or the stupidity and narcissism of so many Hollywood actors and actresses that alienate us?

10. Advertising and public relations (35 percent): There's so much to dislike; where does one begin?