- The Washington Times
Friday, January 23, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ popularity among the public dropped sharply over the past year, making it the third-least popular government agency, a poll released Thursday found.

A Pew Research poll found that 52 percent of people have a favorable view of the VA, down 16 points from October 2013, before investigations discovered systemic scheduling problems and veterans waiting too long for care throughout the system.

Despite the recent scandal and the large drop in favorable ratings, just 38 percent have an unfavorable view of the department, the poll found.

In April, a whistleblower alleged that veterans were dying while waiting for care on secret lists at the Phoenix VA facility. Investigations later found systemic scheduling problems across the country as employees tried to make wait times appear shorter to secure bonuses.

College graduates had the greatest change in opinion about the VA, with the favorability rating dropping 29 points from 2013 to just 46 percent this month. Republicans were much less likely to have a positive view of the department with 43 percent having a favorable opinion, compared to 54 percent of Democrats.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the most popular government agency, with 70 percent of people having a favorable view, the poll found.

The only two agencies that are less liked than the VA are the National Security Agency and the Internal Revenue Service.

Poll results came from interviews with more than 1,000 adults between Jan. 7-11.

• Jacqueline Klimas can be reached at jklimas@washingtontimes.com.

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