A majority—64 percent—of the respondents also said there's a risk that the Fed would be more dovish than their forecasts. That answer may be at the heart of the divide between the Fed's forecasts for the first rate hike in mid-2015 and the fed fund's futures market's more dovish pricing of a first rate hike, much later, in the fourth quarter.
The CNBC survey of 39 money managers, economists and advisors shows market expectations have been pushed out for the Fed's first rate hike and how quickly rates will rise. Respondents now forecast, on average, the first rate hike in July 2015, a month later than the September survey. Instead of reaching 0.98 basis point, the average respondent now sees the Fed hiking to 0.89 basis point by the end of next year.
As for the appropriateness of Fed policy, 44 percent said it was too accommodative, and 49 percent said it was just right, the opposite to last month when 43 percent said policy was just right and 49 percent saw it as too accommodative.
Read MoreFed will go out of its way to be dovish
The Fed at 2 p.m. EDT is expected to release a statement declaring an end to the QE3 program, with the final purchases this month ending a six-year effort by the central bank to stimulate the economy with asset purchases. But the Fed is not out of business as a bond buyer. It actively replaces the maturing securities on its more than $4.4 trillion balance sheet.
Fed watchers say the Fed is unlikely to change the language in its statement about keeping rates low for a "considerable time." That was the focus of speculation last month, as was the idea that it could alter the language about labor market conditions.
"They don't want to send the wrong signal. They don't want to spook the markets. I think they'll be a little more bullish on the labor markets but they'll pivot to inflation. They'll be more worried about inflation," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. "The markets seem pretty well prepared. The Fed has prepared them for tapering."
The focus now will be the Fed's still long path toward raising the fed funds rate from zero, where it's been since 2008. But the Fed is not likely to give any clues Wednesday about when that could start.