The poll, part of a five-year series of studies into public attitudes toward government openness commissioned by the American Society of News Editors, “found that 70 percent believe that the federal government is either ‘very secretive’ or ‘somewhat secretive.’ The largest portion of respondents, 44 percent, said it is ‘very secretive.'”
Attitudes on the openness of the federal government have changed in recent years. In the first poll conducted for National Sunshine Week in 2006, 22 percent of respondents said they believed the federal government was “very secretive.” It rose to 37 percent in 2007, 44 percent in 2008 and then dropped slightly to 40 percent in 2009 at the beginning of the Obama administration.
State and local governments fared better in the public mind: “Only 36 percent believe their local governments are very or somewhat secretive. Forty-eight percent said the same of their state governments.”
The survey was conducted from Feb. 3 to March 9 at the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University under a grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation. The poll has a margin of error of about 4 percentage points.
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