“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Less than two months after President John F. Kennedy uttered these famous words in his inaugural address, he created the Peace Corps by executive order. Fifty years later, most Americans continue to have a favorable opinion of the government-run volunteer program.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 64% of American Adults have at least a somewhat favorable impression of the Peace Corps, while 20% view the program unfavorably. These findings include 29% with a Very Favorable opinion of the Peace Corps and six percent (6%) who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
While the Peace Corps is run by the federal government, two-out-of-three Americans (66%) believe volunteering for a private charity is more effective than volunteering for a government organization. Just 17% feel the opposite is true, and another 16% are undecided.
In terms of being a good citizen, 68% of Americans believe it’s more important to volunteer for church and community organizations than to get involved in politics. Fifteen percent (15%) say involvement in politics and political campaigns is more valuable, while 16% are undecided. These findings show little change from June 2009.
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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on March 3-4, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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