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. welcome back

    Next stop, the Soviet Union years, except this time we will become the USSR.

    February 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Bobbie in Maryland

    Yes, you have hit the nail on the head. I just wish that EVERYONE would take a deep breath & give our new (barely a month!) President a chance to get us all back on our feet. STOP ALL OBSTRUCTIONIST ACTIVITIES!
    Thank you.

    February 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Griff............... on The Truth...

    Marine One! Was buit to defend: "Airforce One, indirectly.

    February 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    GOD is a republican. Would this change their mind?

    February 23, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    @ Truth Bomb Thrower

    So lemme get this straight: "Trust corporate America to do the right thing according to our ideological market model and to be responsive to the fluctuations in consumer's demands even though corporate America controls all the money, all the information and is generally capable, like with this current mess, of manipulating the market to create an untenable imbalance in power between the forces of supply and demand." Is that a good translation? Sure sounds like a great plan to me. Let's give them another unsupervised $350B just so they can prove you right...oh wait...they proved you wrong last time. Oh well, back to the drawing board...

    February 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. Republicans Mislead America

    First of all –

    1. The stimulus bill has been posted online long before the first vote. I read it so why could the Republicans not read it. Are they all that non-Internet capable? Nothing changed between the first version and the second version but some amendments adding tax cuts Repubs wanted, so how did they not know that??

    2.To all you Republican chant repeaters – do you actually know what "socialism" is???? Give me a definition. If you really knew I guess you are all signing up to stop receiving your Social Security checks and give up your Medicare benefits and other socialist programs? If you are so against "socialism" – give them up- so the rest of us can get more retirement benefits we worked for.

    3.Bush lied to America not only about Iraq but about the state of our economy. Obama is now telling the truth and Republicans are acting like this whole mess is HIS fault??? BUSH and the Republicans are why this nation is in a state of collapse. What Obama has not yet told us because he does not want total despair is that our banks are insolvent – broke – and this is due to the BUSH deregulation and the GREED of Republicans buddies on Wall St and the CEOs of the banks like Citi and BofA.

    4. If you want the truth, Obama is trying to tell you and he is try to fix this monster mess BUSH dumped into his lap. Either be part of the solution or shut up and get out of the way. The majority of Americans voted for Obama for a very good reason. He is an intelligent, good and decent man, who is a real leader – unlike the last moron and his blind Party followers. Obama is doing everything he can to restore this nation and save it from total collapse. Be grateful we have a leader who cares about ALL Americans. It is going to take a lot of work and money and time to fix this mess. Be a REAL American and get behind OUR President or get out of the way so patriotic citizens can help Obama succeed.

    5.How long are you going to fall for Republican lies and misleading data? How many times are you going to let them fool you with their false patriotism. Have you not seen enough already to know they are NOT "Country First" and have you not heard enough of them saying how they want Obama to fail??? If Obama fails, America fails. Stop listening to the pretenders and let's get real leaders and serious intelligent people into office who DO CARE about America. Midterm elections come up in 2010 – let's start getting rid of the obstructers and bring in serious people who care about the situations of the people who elected them. In NC, our next do-nothing Senator, Richard Burr, will be voted out of office for betryaying NC. You can do the same in your state and get honest leaders in office who will do everything they can to restore America – with no regard to PARTY but to PEOPLE. Those are real American values.

    February 23, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |


    February 23, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool

    Seems to me that the people are not only scared, but Mad, angry, and not going to accept the same old excuses.
    Governments do not make things easier, people do. So we need to rally together even more, help a neighbor, help a neighborhood, help a school district, time to get our priorities corrected.
    The one major concept that I do agree with our President on is time for everyone to give some service to help out.

    February 23, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. SAGG

    kevin February 23rd, 2009 4:22 pm ET

    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?
    Yes, his and Wall Street's faults. I'll get to why it's Bush's in a moment, Kevin. Wall Street is the LAST entity that should have ANYTHING to say when it comes to the economy. They made decisions that encouraged everybody to basically do anything they wanted in the financial sector. Greed was good for them. Let the good times roll. See, Bush, Paulson, and their cronies led the way, and then scared and bullied the Congress in tricking them to give the Treasury Secretary $700 billion WITHOUT ANY STRINGS ATTACHED. Are you kidding me?! Then Wall Street has the nerve to throw a hissy fit at anything President Obama proposes to help stem the economy. If I were him, I'd immediately nationalize the banks (as if we don't do that already with smaller ones), and put a cap on CEO salaries. For you to now say President Bush never existed and that President Obama is to blame is something else that's really galling, kevin. I'll just bet you're terrified you'll have to pay more in taxes on your six-figure job, aren't you? Tough. Can't squeeze eight years into a month, but that's obviously not stopping you or your fellow Repub trollers...

    February 23, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. karen-Phoenix

    Get the greedy republicans OUT of Wall Street and out picking lettuce in Yuma, AZ!!! Maybe then America can get back on its feet!

    February 23, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. Matt

    Thanks for getting us in this situation Bush. If it weren't for the Iraq War this would have been a lot easier to deal with. Granted it's not totally his fault, but the system completely fell apart under his watch. Much like our security apparatuses in the fall of 2001.

    February 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  12. IndyVoter

    PLLEASE Stop Kevin ... this economic catastrophe started a long time ago! Stop trying to act like this is Obama's fault. This 'plane' was in a tailspin long before he came along. And perhaps if your Lame Duck President had at least tried to do something to keep it from getting worse before he left instead of playing politics and leaving it for Obama, it wouldn't be as bad as it is...better yet, if he had been open and honest about the economy before it imploded we might have been able to at least temper it if not stop it. This is the oldest political trick in the book....create a disaster for your successor and then blame it all on them when they find it difficult cleaining up your mess.

    February 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. SAGG

    payback, you're right on the money about Social Security and the stock market. Think things are bad *now*? Imagine if Bush had his way and privatized SS into the stock markets! Brrrr!

    February 23, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. will

    Trust Washington politicians with the economy at our own peril. This poll is really bad news for all of us. Those in Washington are not economists, they're politicians. Look at the market's reaction to stimulus, mortgage plan, bank rescue plan. Enough said. Business needs to repair itself, it will be painful for a while for sure though.

    February 23, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Lotta Muni

    This crisis started while the Democrats had a majority. Back in the fall where things really unraveled, all of these Democrats started saying "I told you so", never mind that they never actually DID anything about it!! Now that they have the White House too, it's REALLY gone into the toilet. Why can't people see this?

    February 23, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Reality Check

    It is time for another party in this country! The Republicans and DemoNcrats have ruined this country and what our founding fathers envisioned. Time for a new regime! Get rid of republicans, get rid of demoncrats and let's have Americans!!!!

    February 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. thanks, but no thanks

    Wall Street fat cats need to come to reality. The reality that most of America is already living. As a customer, l never felt that l had any protection against the thieves in Wall Street or the major companies. They kept on screwing customers. Same thing with Bank Of America. Same thing with Detroit. Kept on saying bye American Car, then in couple of years the trans went, then the engine, then you had to bye a new car. My toyota has lasted with no major problems for almost 10 years. Once you screw the customers, they do not come back. Business 101, unless you are a moron....

    February 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Carl Justus

    The republicans let wall street run anyway they wanted as long as their campaign coffers were full and you see the results of that.
    If the republicans were not so greedy for tax cuts and campaign contributions and probably getting their pockets filled in the process we would not be in this mess.
    The last three republican presidents have given this country 9.5 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT AND THEY STILL ARE HOLLERING FOR MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH.
    Then the grumble about Obama trying to create some jobs so the middle class can get or keep a job for their business supporters will have to pay close to a fair wage if the economy does not sink into the gutter which the rich republicans are working for.

    February 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Ian

    The government doesn't produce any goods in an economy, so the only way it can get money is to take from those that are producing. The bigger the government the less money in the economy. Be careful what you ask for...

    February 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Boston Irish

    Is Pelosi (ick) the only member of Congress? Her picture's the only one I see. I didn't see her name mentioned in any poll. Bet if her name and Reids were mentioned, the results would be just the opposite.

    February 23, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. no corporate politics

    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 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Fan of Common Sense

    If the average American was as well-informed about their government and basic economics as they are about whose dating the last season's American Idol winner, they would realize that it was not Wall Street that caused the housing meltdown. It was caused by POLITICIANS trying to SOCIAL ENGINEER the free market.

    It was Bill Clinton and Congress who decided that we needed to lower the borrowing standards so that more minorities (including illegal aliens) could own their own homes. Never mind if they could not afford and did not deserve those homes. Never mind if the resulting demand would artificially send home prices soaring skyward, only to crash when the bubble finally popped. All that mattered was that there would be more minortities owning homes. Damn the consequences!! (I might add, George Bush did nothing to stop this INSANE Clinton policy.)


    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  23. Blatherskite

    @ welcome back – it would be a blessing to return to the Clinton years without the famous do nothing Grand Obstructionist Party republi-cons in congress blocking every attempted move forward. We've got a guy in there now who may be just as smart as Bill, but who seems to have a better hold on his zipper. This time the republi-cons won't be able to trump up any sanctimonious nonsense to avoid having to actually do anything.

    And hopefully this time after eight years of strong and informed democratic leadership we can avoid electing a republican idiot who will just tear it all down.

    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Sam Sixpack

    Why don't you guys include posts containing the word "communism?"

    Is it time to learn Chinese yet?

    February 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. Rob in AR

    Since when do politicians run the economy ? Have I missed something ? And, who in their right mind would trust a politician, the same people that vote for more and more deficit spending, and yes the Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress for over TWO YEARS ! STOP THE DEFICIT SPENDING NOW !!!!!

    February 23, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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