Polls find public negativity toward feds

Monday - 10/18/2010, 12:18pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Two recent polls point to negative public perception of federal employees and how the government spends tax money.

A Washington Post poll found more than half of Americans think federal employees are overpaid, and a third said feds are less qualified than private sector employees.

Views of feds are split along party lines. Two-thirds of Republican said feds are overpaid, while "far less" Democrats, independents, liberals and moderates hold this opinion, according to the Post article.

As the midterm elections near, Republicans have tapped into the negative public sentiment against feds. Post reporter Ed O'Keefe wrote in his Federal Eye column, "Perhaps most troubling for feds: Just 26 percent of Republicans who had contact with a federal worker in the last year thought they did very well at their job and 23 percent said they didn't do well at all. People of all other political persuasions -- Democrats, independents, conservative, liberals, moderates -- had better perceptions of the feds they dealt with in the last year." (Click here to listen to O'Keefe's interview with the DorobekINSIDER about the poll results.)

Like the results of the Post poll, the findings by a Rasmussen Reports survey, released Sunday, point to a negative public perception of government. The survey found 70 percent of Americans believe the government does not spend tax money wisely and fairly.

Opinions in the Rasmussen survey were also split along party lines. According to the article, 85 percent of Republican and 60 percent of those unaffiliated with a major party said government has too much power and money, with 39 percent of Democrats sharing this view.

In this environment of low public opinion, feds are becoming the target for government cost-cutting. The poll results follow Obama's announcement last week that federal positions may stay vacant and unpaid furloughs are not being ruled out.

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