Politics

White House, Congress Get Low Marks for Openness in Study

President Obama's vow to make his administration the "most open and transparent in history" hasn't passed muster with Americans, according to a new study on openness in government.

On a scale of 100, the White House scored a 46, federal agencies earned a 40 and Congress came in last with a 37, according to a study by ForeSee Results and Nextgov, which said it was the first study of its kind. Americans gave government overall a score of 42.

The study defined transparency as the thoroughness of information disclosure, the speed with which it is released and the ease of accessing it.

The study found that people who gave the government higher transparency scores were likely to be liberal and urban Democrats who rely heavily on social media, MSNBC and daily newspapers, among other sources, for information about government.

Those who gave lower transparency scores tended to be Republican, conservative, rural or suburban who rely on Fox News for information about government.

"The finding suggests that perceptions of government transparency are filtered through personal views and experiences," the study says.

Voters will get a chance to express their approval or disapproval with Congress in less than two weeks on Election Day. Republicans are expected to capture the House and possibly the Senate. But the study said whoever is in charge has a lot of room for improvement.

"Whether you give the White House credit for getting the highest scores of the group or hold them responsible for low scores on the 100-point scale, it is clear that improvement needs to continue," the study says, adding that "there is clearly a transparency problem, especially for an administration that has put so much emphasis on open government concepts in this election year."