Washington, DC (December 19, 2018) – Forty-seven percent of Americans say that the Fed’s decision today on whether to raise the interest rate will have a major impact on the economy. Meanwhile, a majority of Americans don’t really know what it does, according to the Job Creators Network/ScottRasmussen.com Weekly Pulse, released today.
“Almost half the country understands that the Fed has a major impact on the economy. On the other hand, more than half don’t really know how. There’s a very clear need for more public education on the Fed’s role in the economy,” said Job Creators Network Foundation President Elaine Parker.
Sixty-three percent of Americans say they haven’t been following the news leading up to the Fed’s decision later today on whether to raise the interest rate. Only 10 percent are following it closely.
“Fed meetings are generally low-key events outside of the financial news, but President Trump has been publicly critical of the chairman for weeks. Nevertheless, it’s not on the radar screen for most Americans,” said pollster Scott Rasmussen.
The Pulse also found that only 43 percent of Americans know the Fed’s primary focus is interest rates. Twenty-eight percent aren’t sure what the Fed does. Seven percent of Americans think the Fed deals with immigration, and 6 percent believes it makes tax policy.
The Fed is expected to announce today whether it will raise interest rates for the fourth time this year, a prospect that scares investors and economists who fear that another rate hike to send the economy into a stall. Forty-seven percent of Americans say its decision will have a major impact on the economy, but only 18 percent believe it will have a major impact on them personally. Roughly a third of Americans aren’t sure how the Fed’s decision will affect them.
“The Fed’s decisions affect the lives of every American in some way,” said Parker. “It has the power to raise the cost of borrowing for businesses and consumers. It has the power to raise or lower the interest rate for everyone with a savings account. It has the power to drive housing prices up or down, which affects hundreds of industries. The Fed has enormous power over everyone’s pocketbook, but most Americans aren’t focused on it.”
This ScottRasmussen.com/HarrisX poll of 1,087 US adults was conducted December 17-18, 2018.