And the most popular federal agency is ....

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has the highest approval rating of any government agency despite the high-profile fallout from its handling of the Ebola outbreak last fall.

Seventy percent of people said they have favorable opinions of the CDC, just above the 68 percent approval rating for NASA and 65 percent for the Department of Defense, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center.

The CDC was accused of falling down on the job after Ebola was diagnosed in Dallas last September. A barrage of criticism at the time prompted President Obama to cancel two days of campaign travel and to appoint a White House coordinator on Ebola.


CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden acknowledged that the agency’s initial response was inadequate, noting that the difficult-to-treat disease had never before been diagnosed in the U.S.

Throughout the crisis in Dallas, polls showed the public maintained trust in the U.S. response to Ebola. Just over 50 percent of people say they are confident in the government’s ability to beat the disease, though that figure has dropped 8 percentage points since the two other cases were reported in Dallas.

The only agency with an approval rating below 50 percent was the Internal Revenue Service. The tax agency also had the highest disapproval rating at 48 percent.

The poll included about 1,500 adults and was conducted in mid-January.