Recent polling demonstrates the American public’s strong support for increased whistleblower protections. A survey of likely voters in Ohio and Michigan conducted by Lake Research Partners found that over 80% of Republican voters view stronger whistleblower protections as an effective means to fight government corruption. These findings echo those of a Marist poll on whistleblowing commissioned by WNN in 2020 which found overwhelming bipartisan support for stronger whistleblower protections among likely voters.
The Lake Research Partners poll was commissioned by Project on Government Oversight (POGO). The poll found that a majority of likely voters in Ohio and Michigan are “very concerned” about corruption in the U.S. government, including bribery, embezzlement, kickbacks, and extortion.
Among reforms to fight corruption, the poll found widespread support for increased whistleblower protections for individuals who report corruption. 85% of Ohio Republicans and 82% of Michigan Republicans surveyed stated that increased whistleblower protections would be an effective means to fight government corruption. Notably, only two Republican representatives voted in favor of the Whistleblower Protection Improvement Act, which expands whistleblower protections for federal employees, when it passed the House in September.
“It’s clear that voters are looking to their representatives to enact meaningful reforms that reduce and prevent corruption in the federal government,” writes POGO’s Joe Spielberger in his analysis of the polling results. “Very few voters surveyed believe that current laws adequately protect whistleblowers, showing a deep understanding of an issue often dismissed by lawmakers as not front of mind for the public.”
In 2020, a Marist poll commissioned by WNN likewise demonstrated that the American public unequivocally supports increased whistleblower protections. WNN’s Marist poll found that 86% of likely voters agreed with or strongly agreed with the need for stronger whistleblower protections for federal employees reporting fraud in government programs. This overwhelming support was true across political lines with 94% of Democrats and 78% of Republicans agreeing or strongly agreeing with the idea.
“In the past, whistleblowers often begged their representatives for modest protections against retaliation,” wrote whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn in a piece about the Marist poll. “Many of these laws never worked in practice, others were never passed. The Marist poll paints a very different picture. Despite all of the sharp politically partisan disputes that have surrounded whistleblowers over the past few years (such as the controversy surrounding the “Ukraine whistleblower”) the American people remain firm: Whistleblowers must be supported. Congress must pass better laws. Politicians who attack whistleblowers will face backlash from millions of voters. Whistleblowers are no longer the skunks at the picnic.”