26 September 2023

UNITED STATES: Public Servants ‘more trusted than Government’

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A survey by the Partnership for Public Service (PPS) has found that overall, Americans do not trust the Federal Government.

However, people view individual Agencies and Public Servants much more positively and many can recall positive interactions when dealing with Government employees or receiving Government services.

Commenting on its State of Trust in Government survey and report, the PPS said it showed that “while the Federal Government faces challenges in improving its public image, the fact that some of its significant components are viewed positively creates an opportunity”.

Just 35 per cent of Americans surveyed said they trusted the Federal Government; 46 per cent said they did not trust it and 16 per cent were neutral.

There was a partisan divide, with Democrats more likely to trust the Federal Government (52 per cent) than Republicans (23 per cent) and Independents (28 per cent).

However, by wide margins, respondents said the Federal Government helped to keep them safe, served the community, was accountable, helped people like themselves, treated all demographic groups fairly, listened to the public, and was transparent.

By a ratio of more than two-to-one, survey respondents saw Federal Public Servants as competent.

Federal employees were seen by the majority as hard workers doing public service. Corruption was the only metric where Public Servants had an unfavourable rating.

In addition, more than 70 per cent of Americans who utilised specific Federal services said they were satisfied.

That included people who filed taxes, voted, applied for passports, applied for Medicare or Medicaid services, applied for Federal student aid, and signed up for an account on a Government website.

The report concludes that the Government could rebuild trust “by focusing on the elements of the Government that may not receive as much attention as Congress — such as Civil Servants and the missions of Federal Agencies”.

Washington, 11 June 2023

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