U.S. News

Fed job approval rating lower than IRS: Gallup poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans think the Federal Reserve is doing a worse job than even the much-maligned Internal Revenue Service.

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke pauses while speaking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics 125th Anniversary celebration in Washington June 26, 2009. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Only 30 percent of Americans think the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors is doing a good job despite the central bank’s unprecedented efforts to battle a crippling recession, according to a Gallup Poll released on Monday.

That makes the Fed the worst reviewed of nine key agencies -- including the tax-collecting IRS -- the Gallup poll of more than 1,000 Americans between July 10 and 12 showed. Twenty-two percent of Americans said the central bank was doing a poor job.

The poll comes as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is increasingly going public with a defense of the Federal Reserve’s handling of the crisis in an effort to ward off a congressional proposal by Republican Representative Ron Paul that would undercut the Fed’s independence.

This week, Bernanke traveled to the U.S. heartland to tape a special airing on television network PBS over three days this week in which he answered questions from Americans.

“It is unclear how much of the Fed’s image decline is due to the general decline in the country’s economic climate, as opposed to specific perceptions about the agency’s performance in carrying out its monetary responsibilities and possibly its role in the crisis surrounding U.S. financial markets,” the pollsters wrote.

In 2003, the last time Gallup polled Americans on their view of the Fed, 53 percent said the Fed was doing a good job.

The Centers for Disease Control got the highest approval rating, with 61 percent of Americans saying it was doing a good job.

The CDC has been increasingly in the public eye since it began tracking and informing Americans about the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, earlier this year.

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Reporting by Kristina Cooke; Editing by Kenneth Barry