Analysis: Confidence in Federal Workers Up Sharply After Shutdown

Federal workers demonstrate against the government shutdown outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tuesday, Oct. 8 in Atlanta. Federal workers demonstrate against the government shutdown outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tuesday, Oct. 8 in Atlanta. David Goldman/AP

Whether a sympathy vote or a new found appreciation, many Americans seem to have taken a fresh look at the federal workforce and decided it merits more confidence.

Confidence in civilian federal workers increased significantly during the shutdown, according to a new George Washington University Battleground Poll. After hitting a low point before the shutdown, voters’ ratings of federal workers have jumped to the highest levels in five years.

Immediately before the shutdown, a GW poll had found the lowest level of confidence in federal workers since 2009, with 36 percent of respondents having little or no confidence and only 19 percent voicing a lot of confidence. Shortly after the shutdown a nationwide telephone survey of 1,000 registered voters found that 29 percent have a lot of confidence and the segment voicing little or no confidence fell 15 percentage points to 21 percent.

Perhaps the shutdown focused attention on the breath of important activities undertaken by federal employees and diverted attention from lingering controversies at the Internal Revenue Service and elsewhere.

Whatever the driving factors, higher opinions of feds cut across party lines. The share of Democrats who have a lot of confidence in federal workers jumped from 26 percent to 40 percent, while the share of Republicans who have at least some confidence grew from 51 percent to 65 percent. Democrats, however, are still substantially more confident in federal workers than are Republicans.   

William C. Adams and Donna Lind Infeld are professors in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at the George Washington University.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.