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It’s hard to sell to a public that doesn’t view you well… Yet that’s the task faced by the advertising and public relations industry, which continues to rank towards the bottom of all industries in public perception, according to Gallup’s latest survey on industry perception.

The computer industry – having for some time enjoyed a strong reputation – is back on top this year, with 75% viewing it favorably as opposed to just 8% seeing it negatively. The 75% figure viewing the computer industry positively is the highest mark in the survey’s history, which dates back to 2001.

The restaurant industry continues to boast a strong public perception, too. This year 72% view it positively and just 7% negatively, with its net positive rating of 65% putting it just behind the computer industry.

The net perception ratings are determined by taking the percentage of respondents with a positive overall view of the industry and subtracting from that the percentage with a negative view. Farming and agriculture (+58), the grocery industry (+43) and the internet industry (+41) each also score well.

Among other industry highlights:

  • The travel industry fared well with a net positive perception of +33, up 6 points from last year’s results;
  • The 59% viewing the internet industry positively is the second-highest positive rating since 2001, behind only 2015 (60%);
  • The auto industry’s net positive perception jumped by 9 points to 38, with its positive rating (56%) the highest on record;
  • The airline industry (+6) saw a sizable decline from last year’s net rating of +15; while
  • Net perceptions of the TV and radio industry improved by 11 points from last year to +13.

As for the advertising and PR industry? It improved from being almost at the bottom of the list last year, when it had a net rating of 0.

This year, the advertising and PR industry had a net positive rating of +8, with 38% viewing it positively against 31% seeing it negatively. The 38% viewing it positively matches the highest level since 2003 (41%).

The worst-rated sector is the federal government, with a net negative perception of -23. It’s closely followed by the pharmaceutical industry, which actually improved a few points, but still languishes with a net negative rating of -17.

The only other industries with a net negative rating – healthcare (-7) and oil and gas (-2) – each improved from last year’s results.

About the Data: The results are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 2-6, 2017, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Each industry was rated by a randomly chosen half sample of respondents. Results for each industry have a margin of sampling error of ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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