February 23rd, 2009
04:07 PM ET
9 years ago

Poll: On economy, more trust for Washington than for Wall St.

Nearly two-thirds in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said they had confidence that Democrats in Congress would make the right economic decisions.

Nearly two-thirds in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said they had confidence that Democrats in Congress would make the right economic decisions.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Pennsylvania Avenue beats out Wall Street in a new national poll: the survey suggests Americans have more confidence in economic decision-making coming from the White House and Congress than from Wall Street, the banks or auto executives.

And that may be one reason why a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday suggests that the public opposes plans to provide more taxpayer dollars to the banks and the major domestic automakers.

Three out of 10 questioned in the poll said they're confident that Wall Street will make the right decisions to help the country overcome the current economic recession. That number drops 2 points to 28 percent when asked about bankers and financial executives. And only 26 percent said they're confident that auto executives will make the right economic decisions.

But 53 percent of those questioned said they have confidence in Republicans in Congress making the right calls regarding the economy. Even more - two out of three - expressed confidence that the Democrats who control Congress will make the right economic decisions. And three out of four said they think President Barack Obama will make the right moves when it comes dealing with the recession.

"You know times are tough when Republicans have more confidence in a Democratic president than they do in bankers or Wall Street investors, but that's what the poll is showing now," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Republicans, 37 percent say they are confident in Obama's ability to make the right economic decisions, but only 31 percent of Republicans feel that way about Wall Street."

"Labor union leaders don't fare badly either," added CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider. "Nearly half the public has confidence in them. But Wall Street investors? Bankers and financial executives? Auto company executives? No more than 30 percent have confidence in them. Right now, Americans trust political leaders more than business leaders. That's new and it has consequences."

The poll suggests those consequences. Only 37 percent of those questioned in the survey favored more government for the ailing domestic automakers. Two of the major U.S. auto companies have asked the federal government for a program that would provide them with several billion dollars in assistance; money that Detroit says they may need to stay out of bankruptcy. Sixty-one percent opposed the assistance.

When it comes to taxpayer dollars to help the banks and financial institutions, just 36 percent favored providing the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion allocated by Congress to assist the banks and other large financial institutions, with 62 percent opposed.

"Business scandals everywhere! Alleged multibillion-dollar swindlers Bernie Madoff and Robert Allen Stanford. ... Swiss banks helping Americans hide their money. ... Huge bonuses for Wall Street executives. Does the public expect those people to bail the country out? Well, no," Schneider said.

But what about homeowners who can't pay their mortgages?

"Government programs to help ordinary Americans are much more popular," Holland said. "Six in 10 favor federal assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure and seven in 10 support government programs to lower health-care costs."

Schneider added, "They're generally seen as ordinary people who made bad financial decisions. The majority says they deserve government help."

The poll also asked about a program that would increase the federal government's influence over the country's health-care system in hopes of lowering costs and proving health-care coverage to more Americans.

"The last time the government tried that, back in 1994, it didn't work. The health-care business put up fierce resistance," Schneider said.

But, Holland noted, "more than seven in 10 [in the current poll] say that they would favor a proposal that would increase the government's influence over the health-care system in an attempt to reduce costs and expand coverage."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday, after the president signed the stimulus package into law, with 1,046 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • Economy
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. tennisguypitt

    Well, this isn't surprising, these business leaders are the crooks who got us here in the first place!

    February 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Rick

    Yeah, I see that the stock market is showing it's confidence in Obama's plan by continuing it's freefall.

    February 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. that is because the business leaders first reaction is to cut themselves a bonus check

    these yahoos have no shame

    big expensive spa parties

    large unsightly bonus checks while the company enters receivership

    they need to fail, don't give them money

    February 23, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. no corporate politics

    More than 1/2 of the people think the Repubs and the Dems and Obama will do the right thing. And very few like the Wall Street folks.

    That's a big problem because the lobbyists (Obama lied about that) from the Big Corporations have the DNC and RNC and Obama right in their pockets.

    Bush lied. Obama lied. Google for donor lists and you will see what is really happening.

    February 23, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Proud American

    What Americans did you interview for this"poll?" the same 1087 that said Obama was doing a good job? The same democratic group...that supports the liberal bafoons in Washington? So, of course they'll trust them more....The problem is a group of bad and dishonest financial Wallstreeters..tainted the waters. The democrats quickly, with the media's help, created mass panic..and therefore try to portray themselves as honest, as saviors....don't forget; 4 out of 4 of Obama's staff picks were tax cheats...the democrats in the government are not to be trusted.

    February 23, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Alan

    You have got to be kidding me.

    It is because of Obama's stupidity that the market is diving like it is.

    I am so sorry that we elected this guy. We are going to learn a tough lesson.

    February 23, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Louis

    ...and it's exactly this casual confidence in our government that has led to such a debacle. What we need is a healthy lack of trust in government combined with much more scrutiny and accountabliity regarding our leaders.

    February 23, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Carl from Dallas

    This is like picking which way you would like to end your life:

    jumping out of a plane without a parachute or freezing to death in cold water.

    February 23, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Brandon

    Since the palin board is closed - boo hoo for her. If you "don't blink" when asked to run in a presidential campaign yet are unprepared for such tough hard hitting questions like "what newspaper do you read?" or other hard hitting journalistic traps like "what qualifications do you have?" then you are doubly a moron.

    As to trusting Washington, that is entirely because of the change in management. Nobody, even right wingers, truste the bush/republicon alliance that so badly destroyed our great nation. As to not trusting business, people are only fooled for so long. How many people have to die because of corporate negligence and flat out belligerence before people get it? How badly do they need to wreck the economy with the hand by glove help of the former administration until people got the message? Greed is not good. Unlike the republicon/corporate mantra that ruled the conervative party since the 1980s. Greed is evil. It is one of the deadly sins. It destroys.

    And yet republicons stick to their tired old yakking points about private sector this and bad government that while the nation burns from the fires they lit with the exact same nonsense.

    February 23, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    Nobody have any faith in Wall Street, the banks or auto executives becasue they don't have a clue what it is like to go without a meal and rob peter to pay paul. All they know is the stock market which means nothing to the avergage joe. Who have any money to invest in the stock market but the rich – plus they have too many crooks stealing the money of people who can invest in the stock market.

    February 23, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Matthew, Detroit

    Thats great, just because people pulled vote in a majority it does not mean that they are right or smart for that matter.

    We have a system of Lawyers and Political Activits, Lobbyists, and Lifetimers that no NOTHING about Finance or Markets.

    They make decisions on FEEL Good, Feel Bad, knee jerk and non educated fact finding.

    Would you hire a person without any business experience to run your company. To pull you out of debt. To make the company profitable. NO you would not. That is our problem. Our Congress REPDEM are a bunch of hacks that cant balance their own checkbooks and dont know how to balance a budget. Everyone spends more each year.


    February 23, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. kevin

    I bet those polled weren't from business because apparently business doesnt trust Barrack Obama. Dow down 251 pts to new levels not seen since the 90s. But hey, this is George Bush's fault right?

    February 23, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  13. Lush Limprick is the real RNC chairman

    All the neo-cons repubs are moaning about the declining stock market.

    First, you wanted the "free market" to "self correct" and no government intervention.

    Now, your whining that President Obama does not come out with government intervention and "happy talk" and "calm the waters" on Wall Street?

    You twits are schizophrenic.

    February 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Looks like Wall Street's GOP-fueled "Tea Party" temper tantrum over the stimulus package and the potential that their high-rolling casino-style investment nonsense has finally caused the banks to be nationlaized is about to come to an abrupt end. Obama once again has the upper hand. As it is, every economist out there has said that the decline would continue for a while no matter what we did, so while it's been fun watching the Wall Street crybabies throw a coniption, they can stop now...we see thru it.

    Still bleery-eyed GOPers? Come on now...nap's over...it's time to wake up, put on the big boy pants and do the the real business of this nation instead of playing political games and trying to turn public opinion with misinformation and smears.

    February 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Matthew, Detroit






    February 23, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. scott

    As bad as things are [thanks, W] - I can now sleep at night knowing that every day more progress is being made turning things around.

    It was always clear that the global corporate governance would continue to drive things - like war, globalism, loss of civil liberties, etc - until they drove the global economy into the ditch.

    I just didn't think they could screw so much up so quickly.

    They should shut up and let the Dems repair the nation and the global economy - then they can return in about 12 years and rape everyone again.

    February 23, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. payback

    You know what , would have been really bad for the economy? Is if 'w' and some republicans had their way with social secruity. I mean, if they were allowed to put the S.S. trust fund into the stock market. Imagine that.......You would see alot of angry homeless seniors...........

    February 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. Matthew, Detroit

    It was not business leaders who got us here.

    EVERYTHING is hinged on the Mortgage Crisis and Market Failure.

    EVERYONE agres with that.

    OUR CONGRESS created the problems by forcing banks to make bad loans and allowing banks to continue to make bad loans. Congress intentionally lowered the barriers to entry.

    Now we are all screwed. They need to change the law and let the market adjust. Spending is not solving anything. It is all smoke and mirrors and more debt.

    February 23, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Truth Bomb Thrower

    This is exactly what the Obama socialists and their friends in the media want. They want people to believe that government and government alone can solve ALL their problems. Never mind that socialism has never done anything but cause POVERTY, TYRRANY, and MISERY in every country that has ever tried it! We should all be worshippers of the state. We should not trust each other or the free market. We should only trust the ALMIGHTY GOVERNMENT.

    We are in this mess BECAUSE of the government and its TINKERING and SOCIAL ENGINEERING with the free market!!!!!

    February 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. headline is wrong

    This is the current headline: On economy, ore trust for Washington than Wall St.

    This is what the headline should be: On economy, more trust for Washington than Wall St.

    THAT was easy.

    February 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Laura, Boston

    I don't trust either group of people.

    When Obama spoke today....down the markets went. He is not instilling confidence in anything! 30+ days of preaching doom and gloom and the markets are reflecting that sentiment!

    The Wall Street greedys need to realize that they are hurting themselves in the long run and hurting their clients by the quick sell offs on every situation coming out of Washington.

    Perhaps we need a week of Sundays where we have no President yapping and no stock market activity. At least our 201(k) won't be 101(k)'s that week. That would stimulate the economy. Guess I should get the big bucks!

    February 23, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Wake-me-when-it's-over

    It is easy to blame rich people. Class envy will be our undoing, if you let it drive your ideas. Republicans are thinking smart about 'the peoples' money. Barak just loves the warm fuzzy glow he gets when giving away someone elses hard earned money. Middle class is not rich, why does Obama get to say that anyone making over 250,000.00 is rich. He arrived on the scene, halo in hand, and draws a line in the tax and spend sand. He really believes in restitution for the past slavery days. That is just a dead wrong foundation that he uses to justify programs and more programs. Thank you Obama... but no thank you.

    February 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. aware


    Obama bows to the global economic empire and his arrogant dreams of securing a primary position in it for himself!

    Obama is attempting to engender an idolatrous trust in Obama as savior! Remember Caesar and PAX Romana. 😦

    There will be a severe price to pay!

    February 23, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. headline is wrong

    that was quick! a copy editor should have caught that before it was ever posted, though.

    February 23, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Matt

    As long as we're hearing about million dollar bonuses for CEO's who run companies while losing billions I don't think this will change.
    It seems to me that unless there is a wholesale change in our financial systems and markets and trading and manufacturing that our economy is set up for eventual disaster because it is propped up on suppositions that at some point will eventually falter.
    In terms of the American economy, trickle-up seems to be the way to go. The more people with the ability to spend the better. A million people buying luxury food items puts more people to work and brings in more tax revenue than one person who buys a million dollar yacht. We are currently stuck in a spend and borrow conundrum with China.

    February 23, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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