Poll: Greenspan Leaves 'Em Wanting More

ByANALYSIS by JON COHEN

Jan. 31, 2006 — -- Stepping down today after more than 18 years leading the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan is going out on top.

More than seven in 10 Americans approve of the way Greenspan's handled his job as Fed chairman, far eclipsing ratings for President Bush and other administration leaders. Defying the partisanship that splits the nation on many issues, Greenspan leaves with high grades from Democrats, Republicans and independents alike.

There is a gap: Republicans are 18 points more apt than Democrats to approve of Greenspan's performance. But that compares with a 72-point partisan split in assessments of Bush's work in office (84 percent of Republicans approve, versus 12 percent of Democrats.)

An equally striking achievement for Greenspan is the fact that his approval is so high even while 60 percent of Americans rate the national economy negatively. Among those who say it's in bad shape, 55 percent nonetheless approve of the job he's done as Fed chairman. And among those who say the economy's in good shape, far more -- 84 percent -- approve. (Just 46 percent approve of how Bush is handling the economy, possible proof that politics is just plain unfair.)

Greenspan also gets positive scores across household income groups, ranging from 56-percent approval in the least-well-off households to 85 percent in the wealthiest.

At 72 percent overall, Greenspan's approval rating is higher not just than the president's, but it also far surpasses positive views of Congress (44 percent) and even bests Americans' cheery ratings of their own congressional representatives (64 percent approve). But Greenspan trails Laura Bush. She topped the charts with 82-percent approval in a recent Gallup poll.

METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 23-26, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

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