FDA—Famous, but Not Universally Loved

Monday, March 9, 2015

Source: MD&DI

FDA comes out on top as the government agency whose role is best understood in a recent Harris Poll, but when it comes to rating how the agency does, opinions are pretty mixed.

Of the 2,232 U.S. adults surveyed, 92% said they understand what FDA does. This continues a trend of FDA being one of the most recognized government agencies in six prior surveys going back to 2000.

However, of those adults who know what FDA does, just 57% awarded the agency an “excellent / pretty good” rating on job performance. The other 43% said FDA does its job “only fair / poor.” This puts FDA in the 11th spot ranking out of the 17 federal government agencies included in the survey. The U.S. Mint grabbed the top ranking for job performance while—no surprise here—the Internal Revenue Service was at the bottom.

The Harris Poll was conducted online from January 14–20, 2015 and survey respondents were asked whether they understood what each agency does and how they would rate the job each agency does. The poll’s findings were analyzed by age group and political affiliation, as well as against results from surveys run in prior years.

Since the first survey was run in 2000, FDA has fallen five points in terms of positive ratings, from 62%. Still, this year’s 57% positive rating is three points higher than in the last survey, run in 2009.

There was not much variation in opinion of FDA between age groups, though a slightly higher percentage of millennials (59%) and matures (58%) held a positive view than Gen Xers (53%). Nor was there much difference between positive feelings from Republicans (58%) and Democrats (62%), though fewer Independents held a positive view (48%).

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