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44% Say Fed Press Conferences Good for Economy

Ben Bernanke held the first-ever press conference by a chairman of the Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday and plans even more. Many voters think this increased transparency by the nation's chief banker will be beneficial to the economy, although they still have mixed feelings about Bernanke himself.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a plurality (44%) of Likely Voters says regular public press conferences to discuss Fed policy will be good for the U.S. economy. Just 10% think these press conferences will be bad for the economy, while 28% say they'll have no impact.  Another 18% are not sure.  (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

Thirty-five percent (35%) now have a favorable opinion of Bernanke, showing little change over the past couple years. Thirty-eight percent (38%) hold an unfavorable opinion of Bernanke.  These figures include only five percent (5%) with a Very Favorable impression of Bernanke and 16% who view him Very Unfavorably.  Twenty-seven percent (27%) have no opinion of the chairman.

Bernanke was nominated as Fed chairman in 2006 by President George W. Bush and nominated for a second term in 2010 by President Obama. Just prior to the Senate's vote to confirm Bernanke early last year, 34% felt the president should name someone else to the post.

Despite the historic nature of Bernanke's press conference, only 51% of voters said they have followed news reports about it at least somewhat closely. That includes 20% who have followed Very Closely.

By comparison, 83% of voters followed news reports about the recent threatened government shutdown at least somewhat closely, while only 30% of Americans say the same about news of today's royal wedding.

But Americans like the idea of greater transparency at the Fed. Seventy-four percent (74%) agree that auditing the Federal Reserve Board is a good idea, even though Bernanke is not willing to go that far.

Democrats feel more strongly than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either of the major parties that press conferences by the Fed chairman will be good for the economy.

Adults who earn more than $75,000 annually are more confident that regular press conferences will be good for the economy than those who make less.

While a plurality (46%) of Democrats have a favorable opinion of Bernanke, 50% of Republicans view him unfavorably.  Voters not affiliated with either political party are more closely divided.

The Political Class is more convinced than Mainstream voters that the press conferences will be good for the economy.

The economy remains the most importance issue as far as voters are concerned. 
Only 23% of Adult Consumers say the U.S. economy is getting better these days, while 57% say it's getting worse. Among investors, 27% feel economic conditions in the country are improving, but a majority (54%) disagree. 

Just 42% of Americans express confidence in the stability of the U.S. banking system.  That's down 26 points from just before the financial meltdown began in the fall of 2008 when 68% expressed confidence in the banking system.

The International Monetary Fund has now projected that China will surpass the United States as the world's number one economy by 2016, and Americans overwhelmingly believe China represents a bigger threat to America economically than militarily these days.

The majority of voters have said in surveys for years that cutting taxes and reducing government spending are best for the economy. 

Even though the last session of Congress was one of the biggest spending in history, very few voters are aware that most of today's federal budget deficit is actually the product of congressional decisions made decades ago

Voters aren't sure about the short-term implications of the debt ceiling debate, but they recognize that the official figures understate the magnitude of the problem. 

This Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

Scott Rasmussen , president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on April 27-28, 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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©2011 Rasmussen Reports, LLC

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