In the Public We Trust: Renewing the Connection between the Federal Government and the Public
President-elect Barack Obama has a rare opportunity to usher in a new era where Americans look to the federal government as part of the solution, not the problem. A new public opinion poll released today by Gallup and the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service identifies opportunities to renew the connection between the government and the public. While the survey confirms that most Americans continue to think poorly of their government in general, it shows there is a broad range of opportunities to dramatically shift public opinions of government. The potential to re-engage the public in transforming the government is rooted in six key findings from the new survey:
- Americans are paying attention. Prompted by the economic crisis and two wars, Americans are attuned to government and see its connection to their personal lives.
- Experiences matter. Direct interactions with government move the needle of public opinion.
- Technology enhances touch. The Internet is the public’s primary portal into federal government agencies.
- Economic downturn=increased interest in government jobs. The downturn in the economy appears to be favorably impacting the way Americans think of government as a potential employer.
- Don’t forget the process. The new administration needs to think about HOW government gets things done.
- Media matters. The media have tremendous power to move public opinion.