Americans Rate Postal Service as the Top Federal Agency, Study Finds

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Nine out of 10 Americans give the U.S. Postal Service the highest favorability rating among federal agencies, according to a study by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press, Washington.

A series of telephone surveys was conducted on a random sampling of 1,762 households nationwide during Sept. 25 to Oct. 31.

The study, called "Deconstructing Distrust: How Americans View Government," was designed to measure whether Americans distrust government and find the causes of their distrust.

According to the report, the postal service received a favorability rating of 89 percent vs. 76 percent in 1987, when the Roper Organization conducted a similar study.

Outgoing Postmaster General Marvin Runyon said in a prepared statement that the survey results are a "testament to the dedication, commitment and hard work of employees of the postal service."

Americans also gave the National Park Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Defense Department, the Food and Drug Administration, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration high ratings. Each of these agencies received a favorability rating of 70 percent or higher.

In general, the study found that the majority of Americans still distrust government, but for the first time in a decade, there are signs their attitude toward it may be improving. For example, nearly 40 percent of Americans today say they trust the federal government to do the right thing at least most of the time -- an 18 percentage point increase over 1994, when trust in government hit an all-time low of 21 percent, according to data from the American National Election Studies at the University of Michigan.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press is an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics, and public policy issues. It is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia, one of the country's largest philanthropies with assets of $3.6 billion and an annual grant-making budget of $180 million.

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