The American public’s positive perception of the reputation of corporate America is on the rise, according to the Harris Interactive research group ( Apple now ranks fifth among companies with the best corporate reputation.

Harris Interactive says overall corporate reputation is experiencing rehabilitation as the American public gives high marks overall to corporate America, specific industries, and the largest number of individual companies in a dozen years. This, according to the findings of the 2011 Harris Interactive RQ Study, which measures the reputations of the “60 Most Visible Companies in the U.S.” This is the 1 th year for the study, established in 1999.

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. Sixteen 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.

Google ranked highest, supplanting Berkshire Hathaway, which falls to the fourth position. Johnson & Johnson ranked second again, followed by 3M Company at third. Apple continues a steady rise begun in 2002, ranking fifth, as its corporate reputation catches up with its elite brand status.