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Study: 61% of adults use web for government info

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! The Pew Internet and American Life Project have published a fantastic study of how Americans use the Internet to learn about all levels of government. Let's dive right into the highlights:

• 82 percent of all Web users in the survey (representing 61 percent of all American adults) looked for information or completed a transaction on a government Web site in the 12 months preceding the survey.

• 35 percent researched official government documents or statistics; 23 percent obtained information or applied for government benefits; 19 percent obtained information or applied for a government job.

• 15 percent paid a fine online, including parking tickets. (The Eye has done this several times.)

• High-income and well-educated Americans are more likely to look for government information online.

• Whites, blacks and Latinos are about equally likely to get government information through Web sites, blogs, e-mail alerts, text messages or video on a government Web site. But Blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to view government use of social media as helpful and informative.

Perhaps most interesting, 40 percent of respondents said they used the Web to find data about the business of government. Of those people, 23 percent looked for information about the economic stimulus package, 22 percent read or downloaded legislation and 16 percent looked at sites with government data, such as or or (Check back later for some related news on the Obama administration's open government efforts.)

The survey was released Tuesday and conducted Nov. 30-Dec.27 2009 among a sample of 2,258 adults. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish.

Read the full study and leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Question of the Week: What is the best example you have of a step a supervisor took that helped build trust with his or her employees? What about a misstep that helped destroy trust? Was the situation able to be repaired? E-mail your answers to and include your full name, home town and the federal agency for which you work. We may use your answers in Friday's Washington Post.

Cabinet and Staff News: Former secretary of state Madeleine Albright to campaign for D.C. Council candidate. Former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles, former senator Alan Simpson chair their first debt commission meeting.

Issa offers bill ending 'census mailer' loophole: The add-on bill removes any ambiguity from the law signed by President Obama this month.

Obama administration defies congressional subpoena on Fort Hood documents: After days of negotiations, the Pentagon and Justice Department informed a Senate committee that they would not comply with congressional subpoenas to share investigative records from the Nov. 5 shootings.

Marines tell Idaho congressional candidate to pull campaign ad: Vaughn Ward has violated a Pentagon directive prohibiting the impression that his campaign is supported by the military.

House approves measure blocking congressional pay raise: Lawmakers won't get their scheduled $1,600 raise for next year, a symbolic measure designed to show Congress understands the angst of voters suffering from the recession.

Government to launch ‘Fedspace': The site will allow feds to write blogs, create wikis and share files with one another. It will also have employee directories and a search feature.

Lawmakers seek special pay for acquisition professionals: A new effort to overhaul the military's weapons acquisition programs includes a requirement for new financial incentives for civilian workers, along with a nonbinding recommendation for similar incentives for the service members who work alongside them.

Full federal inquiry planned into oil rig explosion in Gulf: The Coast Guard and the Minerals Management Service share jurisdiction for the investigation of the explosion.

MSHA evacuates 3 mines after anonymous tips: Inspectors also took control of company phone lines at two of the three mines in order to ensure that dangerous conditions were not tampered with by employees alerted about the presence of inspectors aboveground.

More stem cell lines are approved for federal funding: The agency's approval of the lines should alleviate mounting concerns among some supporters of stem-cell research that the Obama administration was hindering research.

SEC porn scandal results in zero firings: None of the agency employees caught using government computers to view pornographic images has been fired.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 28, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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I am part of that 61 percent using the web for research.
Cheryl Mason, age 43

Posted by: cherylmason83 | April 28, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

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