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34% Have Favorable Opinion of the Fed

Friday, October 21, 2011

Most voters don’t like the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central banking system, which at least one presidential candidate would like to abolish.

Thirty-four percent (34%) of Likely U.S. Voters share at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the Federal Reserve. That includes just five percent (5%) with a Very Favorable view of it. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 50% have at least a somewhat unfavorable regard for the Fed, with 15% who see it Very Unfavorably. Another 16% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

But the Political Class strongly disagrees.  Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the Political Class views the Fed favorably, while 57% of Mainstream voters hold an unfavorable opinion of the institution created in 1913 to regulate America’s money supply and oversee the nation’s banks.

A plurality (41%) of all voters, however, still thinks Congress has more control over the direction of the economy than either the president or the chairman of the Federal Reserve. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say the Fed chairman has more control over the economy than the others, while just 13% feel the president is the most powerful of the three when it comes to economic policy. Nineteen percent (19%) aren’t sure.

This marks a slight shift from October 2008 as the federal government was first responding to the Wall Street meltdown with talk of a taxpayer bailout for the financial sector. At that time, 47% believed Congress had more control of the economy, while 24% thought the Fed chairman did. Still, only 15% felt the president was in the driver’s seat when it came to the economy. 

Interestingly, however, when voters are given only two choices, they’re evenly divided over whether the president or the unelected chairman of the Federal Reserve has a bigger impact on the U.S. economy.  But 51% think the Fed chairman has too much economic power.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 18-19, 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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