Data: Ipsos/Axios survey; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The Federal Reserve's unprecedented response to the coronavirus pandemic has not helped it win the battle for public opinion as a little more than half of Americans indicate they don't trust the central bank, per the latest Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: As an unelected institution that has been granted the power to independently oversee monetary policy by Congress, 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."

One level deeper: Mistrust of the Fed defies age, race and even education level, as a majority of respondents across the board say they either had not very much or no trust at all in the central bank.

  • Just 7% of respondents say they trust the Fed a great deal, compared to 16% who say they do not trust the Fed at all.

The big picture: The survey comes at a time when the Fed should be at its most popular — chair Jerome Powell led an early and effective response to the pandemic that stopped a market panic and returned liquidity to the global financial system.

Between the lines: In a separate study conducted by data firm CivicScience, 42% of respondents said the Fed had done somewhat or very well in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, while 34% said the Fed had done poorly.

  • 16% said the Fed had done very poorly, compared to 14% who said very well.
  • 24% of respondents said they weren't sure or had no opinion.

Politicians have long targeted the Fed for wielding undue influence over the economy and for bailing out Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis while ordinary Americans lost their homes and life savings.

  • Powell has taken great strides to improve the Fed's recognition and standing with the public, including holding press conferences at every policy meeting, creating the "Fed Listens" town hall series, and appearing on television shows like NBC's "Today."

Flashback: The Fed's popularity is lower than it was in 2014 when a Pew Research study found 47% of Americans held a favorable view and 37% had an unfavorable view.

  • With President Obama in office and his nominee, Janet Yellen, as Fed chair, Democrats had far more positive views than Republicans, in contrast to today.

The bottom line: Despite historic job losses and a recession expected to be the worst since the Great Depression, many Americans remain optimistic about the future.

  • If that tide turns and politicians refocus their ire on the Fed, it will have built negligible public support and its independence could be in danger.

Go deeper: The Fed's coronavirus response could have unintended results

Go deeper

Coronavirus hotspots begin to improve

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections are falling or holding steady in most of the country, including the hard-hit hotspots of Arizona, California and Florida.

The big picture: A decline in new infections is always good news, but don't be fooled: the U.S. still has a very long way to go to recover from this summer's surge.

New York Fed weekly economic index reverses again

Data: New York Fed; Chart: Axios Visuals

The New York Fed's Weekly Economic Index turned lower for the week ending Aug. 1, showing real-time, high-frequency economic data again weakening in the last week of July.

Why it matters: The index turned negative again after an upwardly revised previous week. It supports other recent real-time economic data that show U.S. growth reversing.

GOP Rep. Rodney Davis tests positive for coronavirus

Rep. Rodney Davis. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) announced on Wednesday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Davis, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, said he has taken precautions against the virus, such as twice-daily temperature checks. He spoke to Republicans about staying safe after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) recently tested positive for the virus and spoke out against wearing face masks, Politico notes.