Poll: Congressional staffers find lobbyist chats helpful

Congressional staffers find meetings with corporate lobbyists are generally helpful, according to a recent study from The George Washington University.

Meetings with Washington lobbyists representing corporations proved “very helpful” or “helpful” to 65 percent of Hill staffers surveyed. A lower percentage, 43 percent, said their meetings with lobbyists for labor unions are helpful.

Only 4.4 percent said meet-ups with corporate Washington lobbyists were “very unhelpful” or “unhelpful,” while nearly 18 percent said the meetings with labor lobbyists were “unhelpful” or “very unhelpful” in their jobs.

The survey by the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University and The Original U.S. Congress Handbook involved 330 workers on Capitol Hill, with respondents split almost equally between Republicans and Democrats.

Small businesses and nonprofit organizations were seen by staffers as among the most trustworthy sources of information, with organized labor seen as the least trustworthy.

Congressional staffers said they hear most often from corporations, nonprofits organized labor when considering policy issues that affect them, receiving feedback more than 50 percent of the time.

Constituents still provide the most frequent input to Congress, more than half of respondents said.

The survey found broad backing on Capitol Hill for the business community, with more than 93 percent agreeing that “corporations are needed for U.S. economic growth and jobs.” Nearly 90 percent agreed with the statement that “businesses have a positive impact on communities.”

Lower support was found for labor unions. While almost 92 percent reported having a favorable view of corporations, about 52 percent said they see organized labor favorably.