Pennsylvanians believe access is key to gov’t transparency; F&M poll shows | The Numbers Racket

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A majority of Pennsylvanians believe it is their right as citizens to obtain government information with few restrictions, a new Franklin & Marshall poll concluded.

The poll, which surveyed 628 registered Pennsylvania voters, including 292 Democrats, 251 Republicans and 85 independents, asked respondents for their candid thoughts on open records and government transparency. The poll, conducted from Jan. 20-26, had a margin of error of 6.2 percent.

Among the reasons for respondents cited for obtaining records with few restrictions was the belief that it’s the citizens right, it helps inform voters and transparency.

 Check out the results in this week’s Numbers Racket.

 79 … the percentage of respondents who said citizens should have the right to obtain government information with few restrictions.

19 … the percentage of respondents who said citizens should have the right to obtain government records only in limited circumstances.

The remaining 2 percent said they did not know.

The poll did not break down where respondents stood on the issue along party lines or by political ideology.

Justification

The F&M poll scrutinized those answers further, asking respondents, “what makes you feel citizens should have the right to obtain any government record with few restrictions?

34% said it’s the citizen’s right.

15% said the government is funded by taxpayers.

14% said the government is for the people (by the people).

12% said transparency.

5% said it helps inform voters.

4% said establishing restrictions indicates there is “something to hide.”

4% said it promotes government accountability.

3% said it limits/uncovers corruption.

3% said politicians are elected by citizens.

1% said the Freedom of Information Act.

3% said other.

3% said they do not know.

Note: The totals equal more than 100% because multiple answers were accepted.

When the same was asked of respondents who said that citizens should have access to record in limited circumstances, 36 percent of respondents said that some info should be confidential.

Cassie Miller
A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared.