This Washington

Lobbyists Rate Legislature "Barely Satisfactory"

By Josh Feit April 25, 2012

On a grade point scale, according to a new Elway Poll, the folks who lobby the state legislature gave legislators a rating of just 1.7 this year---the equivalent of a "C-minus," or, as Elway puts it, "barely satisfactory."

Elway asked lobbyists to rank the legislature's performance on a scale of A through F, where A is excellent and F is failing. Just one lobbyist gave the legislature an A, while 7 percent gave it an F.

Lobbyists who focus on social services gave the session the highest grade overall (1.94), while lobbyists who focus on labor issues gave it the lowest (1.47).

In general, lobbyists gave the legislature higher marks on education (2.10 for K-12 and 2.08 for higher ed) than any other issue.

They gave the budget document the legislature ultimately produced much higher marks (2.26) than the drawn-out process that preceded its adoption (1.02, with 32 percent giving the process an F.)

And, perhaps surprisingly, they rated the "philosophical coalition" that led to the budget---the fact that three Democrats joined with Republicans to adopt a budget that most Democrats opposed---higher than any other aspect of the budget process (2.07), with business lobbyists much more likely to approve of the coalition and labor lobbyists much more likely to disapprove of it.

However, lobbyists were divided about the lasting impact of the coalition, with 38 percent saying it would lead to more acrimony and partisanship in the future; 27 percent saying it would lead to more bipartisanship; and 33% saying it was a one‐time event that won’t have any lasting effect.
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