Professors Bill Adams and Donna Lind Infeld Research Attitudes Toward Federal Workers

September 24, 2013

On September 24, 2013, Trachtenberg School Professors William C. Adams and Donna Lind Infeld published the analysis of their fifth survey of registered voters' attitudes toward federal workers on the Government Executive website.

As the story noted: Graph of Poll Data

American confidence in federal employees has hit a new low, according to a nationwide poll of 800 registered voters released today by The George Washington University. More than one-third of survey respondents -- 35 percent -- voiced “little or no confidence” in federal workers, up sharply from 23 percent in 2011. Only 19 percent of voters said they have “a lot of confidence” in federal workers, while 41 percent indicated “some confidence” and 5 percent were unsure.

Eroding respect for federal service is not a trivial matter. Essential compliance with laws and regulations is built on trust in the fair, responsible implementation of those laws and regulations. Since 2009, phone surveys about American attitudes toward federal workers have been conducted for GW during the third quarter of each year by the Tarrance Group.

Most of the skeptics, as in past surveys, are conservative Republicans. Almost half, or 45 percent, said they have little or no confidence in federal workers, up from 32 percent in 2011.  But wariness is spreading. Now independents are nearly as mistrustful, with 41 percent lacking confidence, up from 28 percent in 2011. Even Democrats are less assured, with responses of “very little confidence” doubling from 12 percent in 2011 to 24 percent in 2013. The biggest shifts in opinion took place during the past year.

The news of Adams and Infeld's findings was then picked up by numerous publications, including The Washington Times.

William C. Adams

Bill Adams is Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration.

Donna Lind Infeld

Dr. Infeld’s research and publishing has focused on long-term care administration, delivery of hospice care, and quality of life in long-term care settings.