Shock poll: 70% of federal workers don't trust government

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Polls,Whistleblowers

A remarkable new poll of federal workers, contractors and retirees has revealed massive distrust of the government by its own employees, one reason for low morale and retirements.

The poll from Washington’s Federal News found that just three percent have “near complete trust” in their government, and 92 percent believe Uncle Sam has to rebuild relationships with workers.

Some 1,900 federal employees, members of the private sector and retirees were polled. Of those still working for the federal government, said the poll, “70 percent rate their trust in the government at or below 5 on a scale of 1-to-10 with 1 being ‘don’t trust at all’ and 10 being ‘complete trust.’“

What was unusual about the poll is that hundreds of those surveyed offered comments about life as a federal worker. “Between Congress and the current administration, federal employees have been the scapegoats fiscally,” wrote one. “There needs to be no more furloughs and shutdowns. There needs to be pay raises,” wrote another. “Retaliation for whistleblowing is alive and well, despite supposed legal protections,” said a third.

The poll, provided to Secrets, complements a series on the 1500 AM sister station of WTOP called “Trust Redefined: Reconnecting Government and Its Employees.”

Other key findings in the 187-page poll:

-- 67 percent believe that “a lack of trust in government as a whole is causing employees to leave government service.”

-- 51 percent don’t believe that there are enough protections in place for whistleblowers.

-- Most believe contacting an agency inspector general or the media is the best way to out abuse.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at