'Election Economics' Boosts Public Confidence in City Hall

Public confidence in municipal leaders is low, but it is higher than it was last year, according to a survey about the public sector.

However, this may be temporary: The increased satisfaction with municipal services stems from the increased municipal investment during election years, like this one, researchers Eran Vigoda-Gadot of the University of Haifa and Shlomo Mizrahi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev found.

They found that public confidence averages 2.3 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest, and that the number has barely changed over the eight years the survey has been conducted. However, satisfaction with municipal services rose from an average of 2.8 last year to 3.1 this year.

"The statistics show that there isn't always a connection between satisfaction with the public sector's performance and the level of confidence in civil servants," said Vigoda-Gadot. "It could be that the satisfaction stems from residents' general feeling that municipalities have learned how to improve their activity and to meet public needs and expectations, but at the same time there is not enough confidence in senior civil servants or in some of the elected officials."

The study found that confidence in municipal workers and civil servants averaged 2.5. The study was based on a representative sample of 561 respondents.

Vigoda-Gadot explained the difference between confidence and satisfaction, saying, "Confidence is a general feeling of an ability to rely on someone, while satisfaction is understood through the unmediated personal experience of receiving services from the government."