Amid Ebola Scare, CDC Falls in Public’s Esteem

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention file photo

The Ebola crisis has taken its toll on the reputation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to a CBS News poll conducted Oct. 15-16.

Only 37 percent of respondents said the public health agency is doing an excellent or good job. A year ago, 60 percent of respondents gave the agency high marks in a Gallup poll. CDC in years past has generated more confidence from the public than any other federal agency, reaching a 66 percent positive rating in 2003.

In the CBS poll, Democrats gave the CDC higher ratings (49 percent positive) than Republicans (35 percent positive).

Eight other agencies were ranked in the poll, with only the FBI emerging in positive territory—51 percent said the bureau is doing an excellent or good job.

Two agencies that have been beset by scandal, the Internal Revenue Service and the Veterans Affairs Department, ranked at the bottom in the survey.

The CBS poll’s rankings rating agencies as excellent or good:

  • FBI: 51%
  • CIA: 44%
  • Homeland Security Department: 43%
  • Environmental Protection Agency: 39%
  • Secret Service: 38%
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 37%
  • Food and Drug Administration: 37%
  • Internal Revenue Service: 31%
  • Veterans Affairs Department: 30%

Of broader institutions of government, only the military enjoys the respect of  most Americans—73 percent have confidence in it, compared with only three in 10 voicing confidence in the presidency or the Supreme Court. Congress earns the confidence of 9 percent, the poll found.

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