Survey: White House and Congress Graded on Competence, Top Advocacy Groups Ranked

24 Jan, 2018

Survey: Low Levels of Competence for White House; NRA, NAM, PhRMA and Koch Industries Ranked Top in Advocacy

In a recent Council survey of public affairs executives, respondents gave the White House low rankings for knowledge of policy issues (3.4 out of 10), ability to advance legislation (2.92) and overall political skills (2.85), ranking much lower than both the Senate and House in the same categories.

Respondents also ranked the most effective advocacy groups in D.C., with the National Rifle Association ranked as the most effective overall advocacy group; the National Association of Manufacturers and PhRMA tied for the most effective trade or professional organizations; and Koch Industries ranked the most effective individual company. Read the full analysis here.

Key Findings:

Level of Competence: White House, Senate and House

Most Effective Overall Advocacy Groups

National Rifle Association (25 percent of respondents)
Chamber of Commerce (14 percent of respondents)
PhRMA (10 percent of respondents)

Most Effective Trade or Professional Associations

National Association of Manufacturers and PhRMA (13 percent of respondents for each)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (12 percent of respondents)

Most Effective Individual Companies

Koch Industries (13 percent of respondents)
Walmart and AT&T (7 percent of respondents each)

Changes on Capitol Hill

A majority of respondents (53 percent) expect Democrats will take back control of the House.

A majority of respondents (60 percent) expect Republicans will hold control of the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has the best chance of retaining his leadership position. (see chart below)

Federal Policy Issues

Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents named health care reform as the most pressing issue of 2017, followed by tax reform (25 percent), and the budget far behind at 4 percent.

Looking ahead to 2018, respondents predict the budget will be the most pressing issue facing the country at 32 percent, followed by infrastructure spending (22 percent), immigration (19 percent), financial regulation (10 percent) and tax reform (8 percent).

International Policy Issues

Overall trade policy was the most important international policy issue for 2017 at 32 percent, followed by cybersecurity (22 percent) and concerns over Brexit/European Union (14 percent).

Respondents believe overall trade policy will be the issue to keep an eye on in 2018 (35 percent), followed by China’s Influence and the North Korea Crisis (both at 13 percent).

State Policy Issues

The toughest challenge facing states in 2017 was taxes and budget (38 percent), followed by health care (19 percent) and education (13 percent).

2018 predictions mirrored 2017 with taxes and budget expected to remain the top challenge (42 percent), followed by health care (25 percent) and education (14 percent).

View the full analysis here

Survey questions were sent to members of the Public Affairs Council’s board of directors and other senior public affairs professionals in December 2017. The results are based on the responses of 72 survey participants.