Sep 1, 2020 - Economy

Americans' trust in the Fed falls even further

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Trust in the Federal Reserve fell again, despite — or, perhaps, because of — the stock market's continued surge upward, according to data from the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

By the numbers: Trust in the Fed is sinking across the political spectrum — a strong majority (62%) of Americans say they have little or no trust in the central bank, up from just over half (51%) in May.

  • Even with President Trump's handpicked chairman at the helm, trust in the Fed has declined among Republicans by six percentage points since the last survey in mid-July.
  • Trust among Democrats actually increased to 40% from 37% from July.
  • Independents have been the most critical of the Fed, with trust sinking from 48% in May to 39% in July to 30% in August.

What to watch: Protests against the Fed have sprung up recently as more of the public begins to question the growing divergence between the U.S. economy and U.S. stock prices.

  • Rising public antipathy could be a major problem as the Fed's power "is contingent on securing as well as maintaining broad political and public support," Mark Spindel and Sarah Binder wrote in their 2017 book "The Myth of Independence: How Congress Governs the Federal Reserve."

Zoom in: Distrust of the Fed defies age, race, gender, region, work status and even education level, as a majority of respondents across the board say they have "not very much" or "none at all" trust in the central bank.

  • The percentage of respondents who say they trust the Fed "a great deal" fell to 4%, compared to 21% who say they do not trust the Fed at all.

Methodology: This survey of 1,100 adults has a margin of error of ± 3.3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Go deeper