December 22nd, 2008
04:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Most approve of the auto bailout - but no additional funds

Auto sales have plummeted in recent months.
Auto sales have plummeted in recent months.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests that a majority of Americans approve of recent loans to the big U.S. automakers, but fewer than three in ten would support any additional assistance if the domestic auto industry asked for such help.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey support the roughly $13 billion loan package the White House is extending to American automakers to prevent them from going into bankruptcy, with 37 percent opposing the move.

In exchange for the loans, the deal calls for the auto companies to come up with plans by the end of March that show how they would change their business models to become viable in the future.

But if the auto companies should ask for more taxpayer assistance, the poll indicates that public opinion changes dramatically. Only 28 percent would approve of providing the automakers more money, with 70 percent saying let them go bankrupt.

"One reason for that: only 15 percent say that the country would face a crisis if the automakers went bankrupt, and half say that would not cause any problems for them personally at all . But most say that the country would face major problems if the auto companies were in bankruptcy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Holland says the opposition to any additional assistance may be a reluctance to spend more money that they think the government may never see again. Only 28 percent, he adds, say the auto companies involved in the current program will be able to pay all or most of the $13 billion back; one in five say they will not be able to pay any of it back to the government.

"This perceived lack of ability to pay taxpayers back may be one reason why the poll indicates auto executives are not very popular with Americans. Eighty-two percent of those questioned have a negative view of auto executives," says Holland.

Union leaders don't fare so well either: Sixty-one percent of those polled have a negative view of labor leadership.

If the big automakers fall into bankruptcy, Americans may be less willing to buy from them. Two-thirds of those polled say they would be less likely to buy a car from an auto company in bankruptcy.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


Filed under: Auto Bailout • CNN poll
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. DC Observer

    For those who approve the bailout of a failed company, stand up and give up you retirement funds - LOSERS. The UAW is POISON – GM is a dinosaur -– WAKE UP

    December 22, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. boered1

    I approve of it but think we should ahve limited executive pay to a maximum of three times the highest hourly salary, if we are going to go after unions (union busting at its finest) we should go after the group causing the larger problem! The cost added to a car for union labor and compensation is 10% the cost added to a car for salaried labor and compensation is 14% which is the larger problem here folks?!

    December 22, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. jay

    Johnny got candy, I want some too. Hey, me too! – This is why I hate corporate welfare. You give money away to one group and another asks for it.

    Every industry affects other industries, they are all intertwined, but that is their only arguement for bailout money. Chapter 11, put the unions in their place, and make cars people want.

    Now the government, many who can't change their own tires, will dictate what the auto industry makes. What is wrong with my country?

    December 22, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Da LB

    If chrysler had been allowed to go under the first time they wanted and received a bailout, maybe the other 2 would have "woken" up and we wouldnt be in this mess. If it didnt work the first time and in retrospect actually appears to have harmed and hampered the industry, then why are we doing it now?

    December 22, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Lauren

    We did a poll at where I work.

    We polled 13 people, out of those 13 people, 12 said they are against any auto maker loans / bailout.

    Those 13 also had major objections to the UAW. And of those 13 people, 11 were card carrying Union Members.

    So, if you take our number, multiply it by the number of registered voters in our area of the world, minus the number of people who may or may not give a rats crap, divide it by the number of certain ethnic backgrounds in our community.
    Plus allow for an adjusted percent to allow for non responsive people who have no job, and adjust to equal exactly what you want it to say,,,,,

    Our poll said, most object. But then again, twist it back around and you can make a poll say almost anything you want it to.

    I wonder how much GM , Chrysler and the UAW paid the people who did this poll???????

    December 22, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. Sherrol in Canada

    I believe we should be concerned about the big 2 making good on the stipulations that went along with the loan. They only have about 3 months to come up with a master plan to make themselves 'viable'. It gives me the hebegebees.

    Our Prime Minister has loaned $4b in taxpayer money to their counterparts here in Canada as well. We feel the same way you guys do, they had better not come back for more and they had better pay that loan back ASAP!

    December 22, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Juan Grain

    The only way they will survive is to make something other than what they are making. They need to build solar energy equipment, wind energy equipment, and natural gas conversion stations and conversions for big rigs engins from diesel to natural gas. while advancing electric & hydrogen vehicles.

    That is a win for the big three, they would then be percieved as the companies that helped America get off of it's addiction to fosil fuel. anything else is just urinating in the winds of change.

    December 22, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. matt in a hat

    Non-union toyota is at a forty year low,now tell me again how its all the unions fault.Even China is taking care of its auto industry and every other nation including Japan..You morons dont have a clue about world economics on here. Its the ECONOMY STUPIDS.

    December 22, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. John Galt in Colorado

    WHO IS JOHN GALT? If you cannot answer the question you are part of the problem.

    December 22, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. Louis

    ...and a majority of voters supported Bush in 2000 and 2004. Obviously, the judgement of many Americans has contributed to the current problems facing our nation. Think, people, think!! Please examine the issues in more depth, otherwise we will continue to make harmful decisions that affect everyone.

    December 22, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  11. Sherrol in Canada

    @John Galt in Colorado................

    Give it a bleeping rest!!!

    December 22, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. Who let the kids out?

    If the Ticker doesnt show us that our childrens internet activity should be monitored,nothing will.Its not CNNs role to play policeman to see whos old enough to make comments on here,its lazy parents that should be jailed for allowing kids to play on here and make stupid and hateful comments.

    December 22, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  13. George

    I am a 70 year old retired engineer. I have Medicare with a suppplement Blue cross and Blue Shield/ prescripton plan. My out of pocket money for 2008 to cover my wife and I, she uses 5 and I have 4 daily medications a day is $ 15,258.00. I have no Dental or Eye care The sad thing is I am a typical well educated retiree paying approximately 20% of my FIXED RETIREMENT income for insurance. I LIVE IN A RETIREMENT COMMUNITY WITH DOZENS OF RETIRED AUTO WORKERS. THEY HAVE MEDICARE WITH A SUPPLEMENT PLUS DENTAL PLUS EYE CARE TAKING APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TYPICAL MEDICATIONS AS WE DO. THEIR OUT OF POCKET WITH RETIREMENT BENIFITS IS APPROXIMATELY $1,200.00 IN 2008. THIS IS ALL WELL AND GOOD WHEN THE AUTO INDUSTRY WAY MAKING MONEY AND PAYING THEIR OWN WAY BUT NOW IT'S TIME THE AUTO UNION STARTS MAKING CONCESSIONS. NOT ANOTHER BAIL OUT DOLLAR UNTIL THE AUTO INDUSTRY AND THE UNION COME DOWN TO REALITY

    December 22, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. susie

    The banks that got the bail out spent some of it on bonuses for the executives, that was wrong!

    December 22, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  15. Joyce

    Lending the auto industry funds (also known as the bailout) was the correct thing to do. If the auto industry asks for more help, it is necessary that they put the problem in the UAW's lap. Good wages are great, but not when they are putting the remainder of the USA in jeopardy. Years ago I remember hearing about "feather-bedding" in the railroad industry which to me is similar to paying wages to laid off employees.

    Today I see real estate developers are asking for a bailout. I oppose this. Ground continues to be broken for new projects while the economy continues to be falter. C'mon, guys, you should have figured out that you may not get your money back prior to putting the shovel to the ground!

    December 22, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    I approve of the auto bailout, but I thought the whole ordeal was a case study in hypocrisy. The automobile companies were taken to school over just $15 billion with thousands of conditions, while Wall Street was given $700 billion with no conditions!

    December 22, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. RaeofSun

    I won't say anything new, but just voice that I am one of the majority. They deserved the bailout, like anyone else, plus it leaded to job retention; which is more than I can say for some of the financial companies. But yes, Americans have it right. You can't afford to keep bailing out a company....of any sorts. That's free markets. Only the strong survive. If the auto companies cannot get their act together to form a working business model, then they don't deserve to be here... regardless of the ramifications. Pain may occur, but everything is for the long term. Survival of the fittest.

    December 22, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. earle,provincetown

    Yes, of course no more money,"Quite the Contrarian Opinion" from the public out-cry for social (equity) justice regarding the lopp-sided doleing out of taxpayer money when it came to "Wall Street". Fear not ,the bond-holders are satisfied with the $17+ Billion Dollar gift! Now they can cash out, with at least something,and leave the taxpayer holding the "Bag"! But wait, they'll be back for more when the man with all the answers gets into office,...uugh!

    December 22, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. Millie Callilli

    By the time Obamer and his far-left minions get through with increasing debt on our country, we will be wishing we had only the auto bailout to worry about.

    December 22, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. DAVE IN CA

    you know what? i wasn't polled and if was would tell these idiots to hit the bankruptcy court and kill all union contracts that are holding them hostage........ these morons earn way too much for what they do and if i could get 95% of my pay for sitting on the sideline drinking beer and watching oprah..... i would say that is not a good thing for anyone.... in fact it should be illegal and of course the union is not going to make any change to this being that they are waiting for Mr. Obama to come in and give them what they want and remove all unfair stipulations that have no teeth..... i drill oil wells in california and our industry is really slow i guess when oil falls completely off i should get a bailout too... oh yeah america come spring prepare for some really nice gas prices once the demand increases and you are all paying out of your arses for fuel....... talk about job security for me..... enjoy it now

    December 22, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  21. Andy Flogan

    Seems to me to be a big game, with tax-payers money, to be sure
    the fat cats get their "performance" bonuses. 1.3 billion of the
    financial bailout went to about 600 execs. as compensation. Not to
    mention costly trips and perks. Another huge chunk went to buy out
    other banks. The bank bosses question is lending, what lending?

    The culture in the car industry is so set, it will many years to change.
    Something like this is a slow process, requiring a strong will to achieve, which I don't think they have.

    They are so used to building dinosaurs, and relying on their partner
    Big Oil, that change is nearly impossible for them, they are so out
    of touch with reality.
    The one guaranteed thing to happen, is the big boys (and girls) will
    get a healthy chunk of the bailout money, as the Bush administration
    intended.

    December 22, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  22. DAVE IN CA

    and another thing the stipulation that should have been put in this bailout -– close all foreign plants and put them back in the U.S. not in mexico, canada, germany..... i am sick and tired of the outsourcing of jobs to other countries for the sake of labor costs....... our border security sucks to the point that these S.O.B. politicians with infest this country with illegal aliens, give them the right to vote for the sake of that vote to keep there old wrinkled arses in washington..... time to close the doors of this country and send all illegals packing until this country is back on track and steering away from a depression and bankruptcy for all..... and yes i am a republican and supported prop 8 and firmly believe in mine fields at the california border.....

    December 22, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  23. Tab Cocovillea

    In case anyone hasnt yet figured it out, our government does not represent "we" the people anymore. To be blunt, we need another revolution in this country to take back the system from doing the bidding of the corporate masters.

    December 23, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
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