Poll: Bernanke heads for exit with slight positive reputation

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But what ground Bernanke has lost with Republicans he has made up with Democrats. In 2008, Democrats reported a slightly more unfavorable impression of Bernanke, although more than half said they did not know enough to rate him. But now, 42 percent of Democrats report a favorable impression, while only 19 percent have an unfavorable perspective.

Bernanke is widely expected to depart the Fed at the beginning of January, when his second term expires. He previously served as the head of the Council of Economic Advisers under Bush, and was re-nominated to lead the Fed by President Obama.

Policy steps taken in recent years by the Fed under Bernanke, most notably three rounds of "quantitative easing," have subjected the Fed to hot criticism from many Republicans, who argue the tool is ineffectual and exposes the economy to damaging inflation.

The poll comes as Bernanke is scheduled to deliver a press conference Wednesday afternoon, after the Fed announces its latest policy update. The central bank is widely expected to announce the beginning of the end of its extreme accommodation, as it begins to slow down the rate of bond purchases it is making each month during this latest round of easing.