2013-06-10 "Congressional staffers: Businesses trustworthy"
by Bryan Tau from "Politico.com" [http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/hill-staffers-business-trustworthy-92492.html]:
Corporations are still seen as trustworthy and necessary by Capitol Hill staffers, according to a new survey of them — with organized labor lagging behind.
A survey of 328 bipartisan congressional staff by the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University and the Original U.S. Congress Handbook finds that 65 percent of Hill staffers have a positive opinion of corporations — calling them very or somewhat trustworthy.
Less than half — 49 percent — of Capitol Hill professionals say the same about organized labor. Still, 61 percent of Hill staffers agreed with the statement that labor was important in protecting workers from “bad” working conditions.
The poll also finds that 71 percent of Hill staffers found meetings with CEOs and top executives useful to their jobs, while only 45 percent said the same about meetings with labor leaders.
In addition, 64 percent of Hill staffers said that meeting with corporate lobbyists was a helpful activity in formulating policy, while only 45 percent reported that meeting with labor lobbyists was useful.
The poll comes amid rising complaints from the private sector that Capitol Hill doesn’t understand or appreciate business. In particular, corporations have been agitating loudly against the implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying it will raise prices and depress hiring.
“The great news from the research is that Capitol Hill has a strong and deep commitment to our economic system,” said GW adjunct political management professor David Rehr, who led the study.
“They understand the need for profit, job creation and the positive impact business has on local communities,” Rehr, a former business leader himself at numerous trade associations, said.
Small businesses, nonprofits and the public sector all maintain even higher levels of trust on the Hill than the corporate sector.
The survey finds that 88 percent of Hill staffers have a positive opinion of nonprofits — even as the IRS scandal has renewed debate about the role of nonprofits in campaigns and elections. In addition, 83 percent of staffers called small business trustworthy, and 76 percent said that small businesses created the majority American jobs.
And Capitol Hill staffers — all federal employees — overwhelmingly trust governments at all levels.
A full 90 percent of Hill staffers surveyed called state and local government trustworthy, while 86 percent said the same about the federal government. The poll found 52 percent of staffers believed the federal government helps business create jobs.
The poll surveyed 328 congressional staff — 46 percent Democrats, 40 percent Republicans and 7 percent independents — between May 10 and 28.