You’ve seen what federal employees think of their agencies — a recent survey of the workers showed low confidence in senior leaders and declining morale.
But what about the general public? How do Americans view the federal government?
A recent Gallup poll tested public opinions toward 13 agencies, finding only one with a declining image last year: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service earned the highest rating, and the Department of Veterans Affairs earned the lowest, showing that the VA still has lots of work to do in repairing its image after its recent record-keeping scandal.
The Internal Revenue Service’s public image improved this year, suggesting that the agency is starting to recover from its targeting controversy, a problem that sprang up in 2012 after officials acknowledged that the IRS had inappropriately selected nonprofit advocacy groups for deeper review based on their names.
Forty-one percent of respondents in the Nov. 11-12 Gallup poll said the IRS does an “excellent” or “good” job, giving the agency a rating 14 percentage point higher than the year before.
Half of respondents said the CDC does an “excellent” or “good” job, compared to 60 percent in May 2013. The agency’s image problem may stem from a minor spread of Ebola in the United States that occurred the month before. It’s worth noting, however, that the poll was conducted just a few days after the United States became Ebola-free — good news apparently travels slowly.
As for the top-ranked Postal Service, 70 percent of respondents said the agency does an excellent or good job. Gallup did not include the USPS in its 2013 poll, so there is no way to see how the agency is trending. But it’s rating this year was 14 percentage points higher than the runner-up, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Only 29 percent of respondents said the VA does an excellent or good job, giving the agency a rating 13 percentage points lower than the second-lowest score of 49 percent for the Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA improved nine percentage points compared its standing in the 2013 poll. The VA was not included that year.