Even in an era when congressional staffers are hearing a lot of arguments about the issues of the day from all directions, more traditional advocacy voices are still finding room in the conversation.
That’s a key finding of “Surround Sound,” a new report from the Public Affairs Council in partnership with the research firm Morning Consult.
In results from an online survey of 173 congressional staffers and federal employees, 8 in 10 respondents stated that they trusted political information from trade associations, and nearly the same amount (79 percent) said they trusted think tanks. The report found that associations and think tanks were generally more trusted than individual businesses (59 percent), lobbyists (61 percent), and online sources unaffiliated with the media (55 percent).
However, associations and think tanks don’t top the chart of most trusted sources by staffers—those generally tend to be official government sources, such as the Government Accountability Office (90 percent), the Congressional Research Service (88 percent), and federal agencies (86 percent).
When asked to compare the effectiveness of different advocacy techniques, congressional staff rate personal visits to Washington, DC (83%) or district offices (81%), and think tank reports (81%) at the top of the list.