Despite widespread public skepticism and cynicism about public officials and government, most American cans have not given up hope that the system can be made to work.

This conclusion is evident from the results of a survey conducted during the recent elections campaign, when the Harris-ABC News Poll asked 1915 voters in 104 swing congressional districts what they thought government, was like and what it could be.

Here are key findings:

By 84 to 10 percent, voters are convinced the federal government is not "almost wholly free of corruption and payoffs." By 48 to 45 percent, they also believe it is possible to have a virtually corruption-free system.

By 69 to 18 percent, a majority believes the best people are not attracted to serve in public life. However, by 68 to 22 percent, voters are convinced this situation can change for the better.

By 61 to 26 percent, a majority feels the federal government does not place "the good of the country . . . above special interests." Nonetheless, a 76 to 16 percent majority believes attainment of such an ideal is possible.

By 59 to 24 percent, voters feel the government is not "the most exciting place to work." By 59 27 percent, a majority thinks the federal establishment can be made exciting and interesting.

By 51 to 36 percent, voters feel most public officials are not dedicated to helping the country rather than being out for themselves. But by 77 to 16 percent, they are convinced it is possible to have a federal government made up of dedicated officials.

By 48 to 38 percent, a plurality believes the country is lacking public officials who really care what happens to the people. Yet, by 21 to 12 percent, a majority thinks it is possible to find such men and women.

In just one area tested are American voters convinced that we have leaders who meet a desired criterion:

By 77 to 15 percent, a majority believes we have "leaders who are genuinely working for peace."

The American people have not given up hope for a better federal government and better people to lead it.

Despite the shock of assassinations, the Vietnam war, Watergate, high inflation and unemployment during the past 15 years and the failure of leaders to live up to expectations, there has been little evident that most people have gone sour on the system and have concluded it is unworkable.