Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Postal Service

For some people, the Postal Service is a byword for inefficiency.  In a year-end appeal for funding, the conservative magazine Commentary said that Obamacare would create "giant new bureaucracies that will function with all the efficiency of your local post office." That struck me as odd:  I think my local post office functions pretty well, and that getting the average doctor's office to that level would be an immense improvement.   But what does everyone else think?  I looked for questions about general views of the post office--there weren't many, but I found two with very similar wording, asked in 1978 and 2010.

(1978) What kind of a job do you think the United States postal service is doing? Do you think it is doing an excellent job, a good job, only a fair job, or a poor job? Dec 1978

(2010) Would you say...the Postal Service is doing an excellent, good, only fair, or a poor job?
March 2010

In 1978, 9% said excellent, 32% good, 32% fair, and 26% poor; in 2010, it was 20% excellent, 50% good, 21% fair, and only 7% poor.   So public opinion has become a lot more favorable (which I think is justified by the facts--service at the post office seems to be a lot better than it was 20 or 30 years ago).  However, opinions differ by ideology.  On a scale of 1 (poor) to 4 (excellent), the averages are:

Very Conservative   2.63
Conservative        2.66
Moderate            2.96
Liberal             2.96
Very Liberal        2.97
Don't Know          2.81

Age also makes a substantial difference--older people have more negative views, maybe because they are more influenced by memories of how things used to be. 

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