Jill Jusko A new poll by Harris Interactive Inc. shows big improvement in the rating of several government agencies since fall 2000. And while the reasons for the change aren't clear, the improved ratings may reflect the "rally round the flag" national mood since Sept. 11, suggests the global market-research firm. The public's attitude toward several agencies have improved substantially. The biggest increases in positive ratings are:
The Internal Revenue Service -- Up from 44% to 63%
The Securities & Exchange Commission -- Up 18 points from 53% to 71%
The National Institutes of Health -- Up from 63% to 77%
The Social Security Administration -- Climbed from 48% to 60%
The Environmental Protection Agency -- Up from 56% to 64% The only agency that lost ground was the Federal Aviation Administration, which dropped from 58% positive to 54%. Harris suggests the drop possibly occurred because some people blame the FAA for sloppy airport security that failed to stop the hijackers. The Harris poll was conducted between Sept. 19-24 and asked 1,012 people to rate 10 major agencies.