2014 Results

Each iteration of the American Municipal Officials Survey includes different projects and survey questions. Below are some of the results from the 2014 AMOS, which was conducted in the summer of that year.

Survey Sampling Frame

The sample of municipal officials for the survey was constructed by first using the census to choose a sample of cities from across the United States. Student RAs then searched for the website of each town or city in the sample. From the website they collected the name and email address of the city mayor and councilors (of the equivalent). The final sample included officials from all across the United States. Figure 1 shows the number of survey respondents from each state.


Figure 1. Number of Respondents by State


Economic Development and Transportation Are Top Issues for Cities

Question wording:

Figure 2. Most Important Issues Facing Cities in the United States

Figure 2 provides the distribution of the answer to this question. About 70 percent of officials felt that economic development was one of the top three issues facing cities.  Other issues that ranked high on the list include deteriorating transportation infrastructure and fragile fiscal health.  These patterns were the same across parties (i.e., the pattern looks the same for Republicans, Democrats, and non-partisan officials).


Figure 2. Most Important Issues Facing Cities in the United States


Residents Follow National Politics More than Local Politics

Question wording:


Figures 3 and 4 gives the distribution for the number of officials who felt that residents closely followed local and national politics respectively.  Most officials agreed that citizens closely followed national politics (about 54 percent agreed or strongly agreed with this statement).  By contrast only about 45 felt that citizens closely followed local politics (see Figure 4). Finally, Figure 5 shows that there was a variety of views on the influence of interest groups in local politics.


Figure 3. Residents’ Attention to National Politics



Figure 4. Residents’ Attention to Local Politics



Figure 5. Interest Group Influence in Local Politics


Future Political Plans

Finally, we asked several questions about local officials future plans.  First, we asked officials what they planned to be doing in five years. The vast majority expected to still be in office or retired.  A small portion (about 12 percent) hoped to be serving in some other higher office (see Figure 6).

Question wording:



Figure 6. City Officials’ Future Political Plans

We also asked officials how they would interpret a request to seek higher office.  The majority of officials thought this would be a sign that party leaders would provide support.

Question wording:



Figure 7. What a Signal from a Party Leader Means