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Eye Opener: New survey on federal agencies

By Ed O'Keefe

A new national survey on perceptions of government puts federal workers ahead of lawmakers. (Images courtesy of Gallup, Inc.)

Eye Opener

Updated 9:10 a.m. ET

Happy Tuesday! The military, president, Supreme Court and your local government rank higher than federal agencies in a national Gallup survey released Monday. Still, federal employees beat general perceptions of state governments and Congress.

Americans named the Defense Department as most important to the country's future, followed by the Education Department. Most notably, a large number of young adults aged 18 to 34 rated Arne Duncan's department the most important.

Other highlights of the Gallup survey highlights appear below. Agree or disagree with the findings? The comments section awaits your rants!

• Respondents said the Social Security Administration has the biggest impact on Americans' lives, followed by the Department of Health and Human Services, Internal Revenue Service and Education Department.

• The CIA is the federal employer of choice, with 10 percent of respondents saying they would be interested in working for the spy agency. No other federal agency earned as high a response. Twelve percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 picked the CIA, followed by 7 percent who picked the Education Department.

• Most respondents said they interacted with the federal government by visiting a national park, monument or historic landmark, or by crossing a border checkpoint or passing through airport security (see chart above). Sixteen percent interacted with the government by applying for a job, while 4 percent said they received disaster relief.

• The Web is the most popular way to contact the government: 41 percent of respondents said they used the Internet to contact an agency, followed by 22 percent who used the mail.

Gallup conducted the mail and Internet survey of 41,876 Americans in May and June. Read the full results here.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

More Obama Nominees Announced: On Monday the president tapped Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez to serve as commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission; Scott H. DeLisi to serve as U.S. ambassador to Nepal; Beatrice W. Welters to serve as ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago; and Earl F. Gohl Jr. to serve as federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count.

Cabinet and Staff News: The government's TARP watchdog knocks Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in new report. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke rebuts Chinese criticism of American trade policies. FDIC's Sheila Bair says bank bailouts were "not a good idea." Did Rahm Emanuel fuel the "Greg Craig is leaving" rumors? A profile of Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf. Details of that Dennis C. Blair-Leon Panetta turf war.

Obama administration cuts 60,000 jobs from stimulus report: The Office of Management and Budget cut the jobs from the most recent stimulus progress report, because recipients had submitted "unrealistic data." One recipient -- Talladega County of Alabama -- claimed 5,000 jobs had been saved or created from only $42,000 in stimulus funds.

Millions will owe IRS for stimulus credit: The $400 tax credit was proposed by Obama during his presidential campaign and was a centerpiece of this year's stimulus bill.

U.S. to aid some local mortgage programs: A Treasury Department program aimed at propping up local housing finance agencies will help inject $29 billion into these groups over the next year.

Anthrax drug delayed by FDA: A Rockville company said Monday that approval of its experimental anthrax drug hit a delay as regulators asked the firm for more information about the treatment.

Maryland lawmaker tries to ease federal employees' fears about health care: Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said the public option would expand the choices available to FEHBP enrollees by encouraging insurers to lower their prices for everyone.

Lack of 2010 funding hamstrings agencies: While some agencies have their 2010 appropriations from Congress, some do not. And the work of managers at those agencies is more challenging than usual as a result.

Luring top young talent to public service: Congress is considering legislation to create a program that makes such good sense, you might wonder why no one thought of it before. The Roosevelt Scholars program would draw young people to key positions in the federal service with the promise of paying their college expenses.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | November 17, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener  
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Next: House approves bill preserving FDR records


The Gallup survey is interesting (though I'm amazed Congress scores as well as it does), but I would find it more compelling if respondents were asked to rate other institutions. The president scores higher than Congress, but how do they compare with big business or religious institutions? Also, asking about federal agencies as a group could mask much variation. I suspect views of NASA, the IRS, and the Federal Reserve would all be very different.

Posted by: ArtCee | November 17, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Where is the link on the Gallup website? I cannot find the actual poll results anywhere on Gallup's site. Ed???

Posted by: Anonymous8 | November 17, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It is nowhere to be found on the Gallup website.

Posted by: Anonymous8 | November 17, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

How agencies are viewed externally is nice but internally it is the culture that makes the difference. You should show how agencies that are ranked by the public fare in a workplace survey. The picture is less rosy as feds are being beat up internally on a regular basis. Respect has been lost.

Posted by: ksosne | November 17, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

anyone thinking about working for any intel agency or federal department had better pay attention to how Obama goes after people for doing their jobs.

Unless people like this, have 100% assurance that following orders will not result in their prosecution, you will be hard-pressed to get anyone to join up.

In fact, many people have left CIA already since Obama took office for that very reason.

Good luck restoring the trust of the American people Mr. Lame-Duck-In-Waiting

Posted by: ProveMeWrong | November 17, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

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