A research firm that tracks public satisfaction with the federal government has said that the partial shutdown likely will aggravate an already-observed decline, saying the experience “has left an indelible mark on the American people – and not in a good way.”
The most recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index, based on data compiled just before the shutdown, showed a decrease in overall satisfaction by 1.1 points to a score of 68.9 out of 100. The measure peaked at 72.3 in 2006, generally declined until bottoming out at 63.9 in 2015, but had risen in 2016 and 2017. The 2018 decline occurred in all four areas measured: quality of information, customer service, timeliness and ease of government processes and usefulness of government websites.
While the shutdown had the greatest direct impact on the federal employees working for affected agencies, members of the public who interact with those agencies felt the impacts too, a new blog posting says.
It cited incidents such as accidents and unsanitary conditions in national parks that had remained open but with only a skeleton staff; delays at airport checkpoints due to screeners not reporting to work as scheduled; and closing of museums. Further, effects will continue to be felt moving forward since agencies fell behind in their work.
“Most people aren’t simply going to forgive and forget all the turbulence, especially with the lingering ramifications,” it says. “Although our 2018 report was not influenced by the shutdown itself, satisfaction in the federal government was already heading south . . . it’s almost impossible to look at all that’s happened without expecting a lingering ripple effect throughout the rest of 2019.”