Americans' misguided trust in corporations on rise

Harris survey of 30,000 shows Google tops in corporate reputation, tech leading all sectors

Search giant Google has the top corporate reputation among Americans, according to the 12th Harris Interactive RQ Study.

The Harris survey, which "measures the reputation of the 60 most visible companies in the U.S.," also showed that "the American public's positive perception of the reputation of corporate America is on the rise," according to the market research firm:

Of the 20 notable changes in reputation among the 54 companies measured in both 2010 and 2011, 18 had significant positive increases, compared to only two declines. An astounding 16 companies received an RQ score over 80, which is considered to be an "Excellent" reputation, a sharp increase from the six companies so recognized in the 2010 survey.

Why, because there hasn't been a scandal in three months? Honestly.

Meanwhile, Google, which has been accused of privacy violations with its Google Street project (among others) and which has aroused antitrust concerns on two continents, had the top corporate reputation in the Harris survey of more than 30,000 Americans. It was followed by Johnson & Johnson at No. 2, 3M Company at No. 3 and last year's winner, Berkshire Hathaway, ranked fourth.

Apple came in at No. 5, Intel at No. 6 and Amazon.com at No. 8.

Facebook made the list for the first time, coming in at No. 31 with a score of 74.12. Facebook.

Overall, the tech industry rated the highest, with 75 percent of respondents giving it a positive rating, well ahead of the runner-up sector, retail, which was viewed positively by 57 percent.

The RQ survey uses six reputational "dimensions" -- social responsibility, emotional appeal, financial performance, products & services, vision & leadership, and workplace environment.

Google was in the top five in every dimension (including ranking the highest in financial performance and workplace environment) except emotional appeal.

Fortunately, amnesia hasn't totally gripped the country. Here are the lowest-rated companies:

51.) Delta Airlines

52) JP Morgan Chase

53) Exxon Mobil

54) General Motors

55) Bank of America

56) Chrysler

57) Citigroup

58) Goldman Sachs

59) BP

60) AIG

I'd quibble with a couple of those, but generally those corporations have earned their poor reputations.

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