A new broom sweeps clean in Washington when it comes to cabinet heads and appointed officials, but what about all of the millions of federal workers on the government payroll? Their jobs are supposed to be apolitical and largely independent of which party controls the White House or the chambers of Congress. According to a new survey conducted by Government Executive, a significant number of these workers are signaling that they might “reconsider their career in government service” if Donald Trump moves in to the West Wing.
This polarizing presidential election has left many federal workers seriously rethinking their career choices.
A Government Business Council/ GovExec.com survey found that 14 percent of federal workers say they would definitely consider leaving their jobs if Donald Trump wins the Nov. 8 presidential election. Another 13 percent said they might consider leaving, while 9 percent said they did not know. That leaves just 65 percent of federal workers who say they would stay for a Trump administration.
The animus toward Hillary Clinton is less severe: Nine percent would definitely consider leaving; 7 percent might leave; 5 percent didn’t know. Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) say they would stay for a Clinton administration.
On the surface those sound like some pretty anti-Trump numbers, but digging down further it’s hardly all that clear. First of all, these aren’t people saying that they would quit if Trump wins. Just that some of them would consider leaving. And a portion of those didn’t even say they were considering it, but that they simply didn’t know if they would. On top of that, among those who said they would consider leaving in the event of a Trump victory, 49% are already eligible for retirement and would likely just use this as an excuse to head off into the sunset.
But returning to the idea of people saying they would “consider leaving” their jobs, how much do I believe that? Pardon me if I’m more than a bit skeptical. Unless they truly live in a bubble they know what the job market is like out in the real world. People can’t simply hang on to their jobs forever, even if they underperform or wind up getting arrested. Private sector workers don’t have a national board watching over every dismissal from a union position which allows them to challenge their dismissal and frequently get their jobs back (with back pay) after the hearings are over. And all of that assumes that you can even get a job, to say nothing of one which on average pays far more than an equivalent position in the private sector would fetch. Do you honestly think these people are going anywhere?
Of course, for many conservatives hearing these survey results, their first response is likely along the lines of, “Good riddance. Can we start with the workers at the VA?” That’s not just anecdotal either. A different survey previously highlighted in the same outlet showed that a significant majority of Trump voters aren’t exactly wild about federal workers to begin with.
Donald Trump supporters do not like federal employees very much, though the feeling does not appear to be mutual.
Trump supporters are nearly united in their frustration with federal government policies, according to a new survey from Rasmussen Reports, with 96 percent saying they are “angry” at them. Just 36 percent of Hillary Clinton supporters said the same.
About six in 10 backers of the Republican nominee say the federal government rarely or never does the right thing. Nine in 10 disagree that federal government is a “protector of individual liberty.”
So if anyone is looking to use this survey as a reason to scare Trump voters away from the polls it’s likely to backfire. Most of those federal workers aren’t going anywhere, and if they did there wouldn’t be too many tears shed over it in conservative circles.