Quorum 2024 State of Government Affairs Survey

While public affairs pros find a growing number of hurdles facing them as they move further into the 2024 election season, they see one source that might be able to make things easier: artificial intelligence.

That’s the conclusion reached by the “2024 State of Government Affairs Survey” recently released by Quorum, a public affairs software company.

The biggest challenge, according to the 225 public affairs pros surveyed by the company between Feb. 29 and March 24, is simply getting the attention of lawmakers and other decision makers, a problem cited by 35 percent of respondents. Coming close behind is a problem that leaves the door wide open for an AI-influenced solution: lack of staff (33 percent).

The staffing squeeze appears to be hitting nonprofits the hardest, with 47 percent of those respondents calling it their biggest hurdle, as opposed to just 27 percent for respondents from companies.

Quorum 2024 State of Government Affairs Survey

But nonprofits are also proving to be more hesitant to use AI. Overall, 36 percent of respondents say they have already jumped on the AI bandwagon, a number that slides to 30 percent for nonprofits. Agencies and consultants are more enthusiastic, accounting for 60 percent of those currently using AI.

The organizations using AI say they are employing it for such tasks as analyzing bills, drafting messages, conducting research and parsing data—as well as to ease the workload of their staffs.

Interest among those who have not incorporated AI into their workflows is strong, however. More than three quarters (77 percent) of respondents who said they are not already using AI indicated that they were open to using it “once they learn more and get their questions answered.” The 23 percent saying they were not open to using AI cited such reasons as the difficulty of implementing it, they didn’t see a clear role for it, or they were just fundamentally opposed to artificial intelligence.

The survey also looked at how political polarization has affected the difficulty of lobbying and advocacy work. Almost two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) felt that political polarization has already made their difficult, and 51 percent said they anticipated their work becoming even more difficult in the period running up to the election.

Surprisingly, 14 percent of respondent actually think that polarization is making public affairs pros’ job less difficult. The survey authors find one possible reason for that: “People are sometimes easier to motivate in a polarized environment where they can be triggered.”