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. yuri

    Comparison of WS with

    February 23, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Conservative Principles

    No one creates enough REAL VALUE in a public company that their compensation should be more than about $1M per year.

    We are in trouble because we allowed executives to use "snake-oil-like" financial instruments ..... like strips & swaps, and financial accounting gimmicks ..... to book annual profits that really didn't exist or were not truly founded in creating any VALUE to the economy ... no GDP ... no output related benefits.

    People that don't contribute to output hurt, not help, the economy. Rasing money for capital investment is an important part but it doesn't count as much as shipping quality products on time. This is where we have lost our way.

    Executives (financial and otherwise) should have to work for 10 to 20 years to build a multi-million dollar fortune; not have it handed to them for running a 3-card-monte-shell-game successfully long enough to fool us.

    I can't see any executive making more than 10 times what their administrative assistants make. If the secretary makes $60,000 .... pay them $600K.

    That's enough to pay for their Benz and if they save their money ... in 10 years they can buy that Maybach.

    February 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. yuri


    February 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Libertarian

    OMG! WHAT!? People are thinking that the Government knows more about business than business people do? Well, I guess this is why we are in the position we are in.

    BOTH Democrats and Republicans have created poor fiscal responsibility that has lead to this recession. The Bush Bailout gave money to the banks, which were essentially bought out in the Obama Bailout. This all just went to increase government's size. Now we need whole offices on how to "oversee" the money that the government gave itself.

    Democrats and Republicans are pointing fingers at each other, and GUESS WHAT, They're BOTH right...they BOTH have created the mess we're in.

    February 23, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. Frost/Tennessee

    no more Wall St. They have abused and used long enough. Out on the street with them.

    They are the very ones.. wanting failure to happen.. they made more money off a republican goverment

    February 23, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Griff............... on The Truth...

    97% Black. voted for Obama. That says enough for you Opinion Poll.
    What about the rest???

    February 23, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |

    Let's me honest people... name on money making entity that the gov't controls that is run properly. Social Security? Going to be bankrupt someday. Medicare? Just ask any senior citizen how that's worked for them. Hell, even the military (which I am apart of) is run poorly with regards to money. Now I'm not saying that all CEO's know what they're doing. I am saying that I have historical evidence to prove that the gov't doesn't know.

    February 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Matt

    I have the least amount of faith in the auto industry who seem bound for failure regardless. It seems like they have gotten the backing of both Bush and Obama because of their obligations to big oil and the unions, respectively. They'll be asking for billions more in three months...and three months after that...and three after that. Let them fail and be bought out by foreign companies that have their finances in order.

    February 23, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. america first


    February 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. Anne

    Wall Steet is still filled to the brim with greedy Republicans.

    February 23, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Marc in Virginia

    Surprised Obama's approving ratings are still high. I have a feeling that in a couple of years when our economy is really in the toilet, his defenders will still be complaining that we haven't given him enough time. Those who still give him high marks haven't been paying attention.

    February 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. yuri

    Comparison of WS to WH seems novel as it, quite possibly, attempts to evaluate 2 large decision makin' bodies. Performance aside, WS' ravenous hunger for the green stuff has made it a nice object for target practice for the would-be crack shootin' independant observers, who have, lately, pommeled the avarice of the all-consumin' asset managers from WS.

    February 23, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Sam Sixpack

    It might be a good time to start learning to speak Chinese.

    February 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Think People

    Wall Street is really trying to help the GOP. For anyone to not see what is going on is blind. What party does 90% or more of the investors on Wall Street affiliate themselves with? People open your eyes. They are trying to play us for fools. Why would the DOW continue to tumble in lieu of massive amount of money being pumped into the economy? So, part of the reason why our market is failing b/c of someone's feelings? Do we have anything more concrete and tangible to go off of next time b/c feelings and emotions really should not dictate whether or not someone can make their mortgage payment or buy food for their family or have healthcare. That is given an area entirely too much power. Numbers and bipartisan economic forecasts should drive that.. not the way someone currently feels about the economy. Keep playing with the American people... this will utimately come back to bite you.

    February 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Frodo

    This is why revolutions happen. The government forgets about the people while talking out of the side of it's mouth about all of the people it is helping.

    I mean really, for all of the talk about the tax cuts to help the person on "main street" how is $60 / month really going to do anything for me!?

    The politicians make it sound like this is a HUGE favor for me, giving back $60 / month, when it probably cost them $80/month to take the money from me.

    February 23, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. AndyL

    Yeah right, people who voted for Obama were hoping for the Clinton years. Well today the Down Jones closed at it's lowest lever since 1997. I guess the got what they wanted.

    February 23, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. tjaman

    Hey, everyone hooting about the paycheck bump in this thing, give it to the United Way or something. They'll have far less contempt for it than you do and it might end up helping someone.

    February 23, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |


    Spoken like a true socialist. Go to Europe if you don't like free market. You'll love it there.

    February 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    @Matthew, Detroit
    Well said, I believe you have made it to the...

    "I'm Mad as Hell and I'm not taking it anymore" stage...
    Welcome to the Libertarian party.

    February 23, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  20. Barbara NY

    I too have more faith and trust in our current administration than I do Wall Street. When I watch CNBC and/or monitor the Market, I can't help but wonder if these people are trying to manipulate things.

    February 23, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. yuri

    We raise our eye brows at this WS-WH novel comparison. WS' ravenous hunger for the green stuff has assumed gargantuan proportions, thus making them a nice set of target practices for the crack shootin' independant observers and a large number of economists.

    February 23, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  22. welcome back

    Well kiddies, the stockmarket fell to 1997 levels today. Congratulations to the President and Congress; they have taken us back to the Bill Clinton years.

    February 23, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Maryellen

    Right Kevin, the stock markey crash is Bush's fault. Are you blaming Obama who has been in office for a month?

    February 23, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  24. Angie in Pa

    Wall St Is Responsible For half of the Mess GREED!

    February 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. J.P.

    Has it occured to anyone that maybe, just maybe, investors DO HAVE confidence in the market and are more than ready to invest, but they don't have confidence that the government will stay the hell out of the way and not meddle, or even worse not come in nationalize (read: "appropriate") entire businesses, industries and sectors?

    We are in the middle of a government-created mess. Their well-intentioned yet fiscally-disasterous Robin Hood policies created this mess... and the more they try to "fix" the very thing they effed up in the first place, the more damage they cause, psychologically, to investors, investor confidence and the US and world markets as a result.

    This is all one giant liberal October Surprise that has spun way, way out of their control. Well, you won the election by buying the votes of millions of food-stamp mortgage holders... are you happy now? Tell me, how did that work out for all of us?

    American Tea Party – 2010

    February 23, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8