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Apple Ranks #1 With Consumers as J&J Tumbles in Harris Poll: Big Banks Come in Last

Stacy Curtin

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Apple is on a roll.

The Silicon Valley tech giant made headlines twice already this year for its market capitalization hitting all-time highs. Apple broke a $400 billion valuation in January and just last week topped $460 billion, which means it is worth more-than Google and Microsoft combined. In recent trading, the stock was up 7% to 500.44 after topping $500 for the first time ever earlier today,

Apple also set another record today; this time with consumers and not investors. The general pubic believes Apple has the best reputation in all of corporate America, ousting Google for the number one spot, according to the 13th Annual Harris Reputation Quotient Study. Apple actually earned an all-time high score on the survey for its reputation.

Taken in December, the poll asked 17,000 people to identify the country's most visible companies and then rate each on a number of attributes, including emotional appeal, products and services, social responsibility, vision and leadership, workplace environment and financial performance.

It seems somewhat surprising that Apple's reputation did not take a hit due to the recent uproar over working conditions in its Chinese factories. (See: The Darker Side of Apple: The Human Cost of Your iProducts)

The controversy hasn't hit Apple's reputation yet, but it might, Robert Fronk, executive vice president for Harris Interactive, tells The Daily Ticker's Aaron Task and Henry Blodget.

"That's one of the reasons why you build reputation to begin with. You're going to have these challenging moments," he says. "Nike had similar situations many years back and worked their way through…. Apple right now has the ability to get past this."

After Apple and Goolge, the top-five companies with the best reputations are Coca-Cola, Amazon.com and Kraft Foods. For the first time in the survey's 13-year history, Fronk notes Johnson & Johnson did not rank number one or number two on the list, falling to seventh place due to a rash of product recalls.

Then there's Wall Street and the business of banking. While there's been a rising affinity for technology companies, the reputation of the banking and financial services sector has dropped. According to the survey, those companies that are perceived to have created the current economic calamity fared the worst in this year's poll, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and AIG. The last three banks have a reputation on a level with Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia and Global Crossings, which are now no more.

As if the 'too big to fail banks' had not been vilified enough, the Occupy Wall Street movement did not help their reputation last year. The poll found that nearly 73% of Americans said they were familiar with the Occupy movement, some even took action and changed their behavior: 13% of people surveyed have reconsidered how they will vote in November while 7% of them switched to banks that treat them more fairly.

Tell us what you think! Do you think Apple has the best reputation in all of Corporate America?