Contact: Christie Hobbs
Phone: (202) 349-5889

WASHINGTON, DC — A new survey of Capitol Hill interns reveals that although they come seeking career development, they don’t shy away from the Washington social scene.

The survey, conducted by The Polling Comany released today by the Independent Women’s Forum, questioned 200 congressional interns. Many of the questions mirrored those asked in a 2003 survey of congressional interns also conducted by The Polling Company for IWF. Key findings released at today’s Annual IWF Sex & Dating Conference include:

Current Capitol Hill interns are aware of former Senate staffer Jessica Cutler, who was fired from her job after she was found to have posted detailed accounts of her sexual escapades on a website. While interns are split on whether she was “a woman of loose morals” or “an opportunist” (39 percent to 38 percent), only 2 percent viewed her as a victim.

“Hook ups” are common and much more so when alcohol is a factor. 44 percent of interns surveyed said they had personally experienced a “hook up” since arriving in Washington DC. Two years ago only 26 percent admitted to “hooking up.” 40 percent of congressional interns admitted to engaging in “intimate activities” that they otherwise may not have participated in while under the influence.

Inter-office relationships are the exception, rather than the rule on Capitol Hill: Only 1 percent said they have experienced or observed interns having intimate relationships with elected officials. Still, nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of interns say they have observed interns flirting with other interns, and 50 percent have seen interns flirting with staffers close to their own age. Almost one quarter (24 percent) have seen staff members flirting with interns.

Hill interns long to find the right mate but are focused on their careers: Almost six in 10 (59 percent) Capitol Hill interns say they would rather find the right job than the right mate. However, males are twice as likely to focus on finding the right job (66 percent to 32 percent) while females are evenly split on the issue (51 percent to 48 percent). This signals a shift from IWF’s 2002 study which found interns more interested in finding the right mate over the right job (55 percent-44 percent).

While male interns prefer the Oval Office to a corner office, women would rather be CEO of their own company. 69 percent of male interns said they would rather be president of the United States than president of their own company while 54 percent of women said they would prefer to head their own business.