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Harris-Industry-Reputation-Ratings-Feb201379% of Americans believe that the technology industry has a positive reputation, per results [pdf] from the latest Harris Poll Reputation Quotient (RQ) study. The tech industry continues to get stronger in this area, climbing from 76% rating it positive last year and 75% in 2011. Next on the list, the travel and tourism sector, which follows tech’s upward trend, up from 55% rating it as having a positive reputation in 2011 to 61% this year. Retail (58%) and consumer products (56%) both saw minimal gains, while telecom rounded out the top 5 (up from 49% last year to 54% this year).

In fact, all industries improved relative to last year’s results. While low on the totem pole, the banking (25% this year versus 18% last year) and financial services (25% vs. 17%) industries both saw big gains. Still, a slight majority of respondents this year rate the overall reputation of those industries as negative.

This year, tobacco wins the dubious distinction of having the worst reputation in America. Just 12% rated the tobacco industry positively, compared to 73% rating it negatively. Tobacco is viewed even more poorly than government, which itself is seeing less than sparkling results (16% positive versus 67% negative).

Overall, slightly less than two-thirds of Americans say that the perceived reputation of corporate America is not good, but that there’s still hope for it to improve. 16% believe it improved from last year, while 49% believe it declined.

That probably doesn’t matter to Amazon, though. With recent studies showing the company provides the best online retail and mobile experiences to shoppers, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that it has continued its run of success, voted as having the best corporate reputation in America (among the most visible companies). To get to the top, Amazon barely edged out Apple, last year’s winner.

About the Data: The Harris RQ Ratings Phase took place from November 13-30, 2012. 84 companies were measured through 14,512 interviews of the general public.

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