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Feds dissatisfied with direction of the country and presidential performance

Obama performance criticized by federal employees
Obama performance criticized by federal employees
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

When the Wall Street Journal reported on a survey late in January, most of the respondents expressed concern about the president's performance and the direction of the country. 48% of those surveys were either "pessimistic and worried" or "uncertain and wondering."

51% were either "satisfied and hopeful" or "optimistic and confident."

On the other hand, in describing their views on the state of the country, 81% said the country was "divided," troubled, or deteriorating. And, in a similar vein, 28% said the country was headed in the right direction and 63% said we are going in the "wrong direction." Presumably, the other 11% were still thinking about it.

Federal employees work, at least indirectly, for the president of the United States. What do they think about the direction of the country?

A survey taken by FedSmith.com of more than 3000 federal employees and retirees reported several days ago showed similar results. Just over 79% said the country is heading in the wrong direction and about 21% thought the country was moving in the right direction.

Federal employees are, in part, discouraged about a pay freeze that lasted for several years under the Obama administration and increasing costs of retirement benefits for new federal employees. On the other hand, federal employees are much closer to the day-to-day functioning of the government and its programs and are in a position to see how well the government is performing and meeting the needs of the country.

Only about 18% were "satisfied and hopeful" or "optimistic and confident." About 75% of those surveyed disapproved of the president's performance in office.

Of those surveyed, about 52% described themselves as "independents," 20% said they were Republicans and about 17% were self-described Democrats.

This is somewhat surprising to those that are not familiar with the federal workforce as federal employee unions often speak out in favor of Democrats in general and have campaigned for Barack Obama in his presidential campaigns. Unions have gained some benefits from these efforts but there is little doubt that the unions have their own agendas and do not always reflect the views of those who are in their bargaining units.

While there is room for disagreement over the direction of the country, it appears that those that work for the president are disillusioned to a greater degree than many other Americans.