Computers are prone to viruses and sometimes crash, but Americans mostly like the computer industry. However, the yo-yo nature of gasoline prices is something they can't abide, according to a recent Gallup poll that found the oil and gas industry and the federal government have the "least positive images" among Americans, just like they did a year ago.

The images of oil/gas and the government improved this year compared with last, but they remain at the bottom of the list. Americans continued to give the computer industry the most positive ratings out of 25 business and industry sectors tested, with the restaurant industry in second place.

"The cause of the oil and gas industry's bad image is most likely the frequent and sometimes inexplicably large spikes in the price of gas[oline]," Gallup said. "At the time of this survey, in fact, the price of gas was on the rise. Plus, the oil and gas industry may get dinged by some Americans for its perceived poor environmental record."

Oil and gas producers might take some comfort in the finding that the esteem in which the farming/agriculture sector is held has fallen. Gallup speculated that this was due to prices, too as the drought gripping much of the U.S. has driven up costs.

Helping the computer industry is the fact that America has remained the world's dominant player in many of its aspects, with companies like Apple, Google and Facebook standing as examples of entrepreneurial efforts that offer products and services used the world over. "It appears that Americans appreciate these success stories and hold these industry sectors in high esteem," Gallup said.

The opinion research firm has asked Americans each August since 2001 to indicate whether they have positive or negative views of a list of business and industry sectors. The 2012 update is from Gallup's Aug. 9-12 Work and Education survey. Americans have widely differing opinions of these business sectors, with positive ratings ranging from 73% for the computer industry to 22% for the oil and gas industry, and negative ratings going from 10% for the computer and restaurant industries to 61% for oil and gas.

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