February 23rd, 2009
04:07 PM ET
5 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. Matthew, Detroit

    Nationalizing Banks.

    Nationalizing OIL.

    Changing the Constitution.

    YEP Sounds like Socialism my man.

    If you need a history lesson you should google away and learn a little.

    February 23, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. it will take a while to recover from Bush

    Cheney and Bush have ruined the U.S.

    It will take a while to repair all the damage

    February 23, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Matthew, Detroit

    OR,

    You can look at CASTRO, CHAVEZ, PUTIN.

    They were all FREELY elected the first time.

    They then changed the economy, nationalized bank and industry, than began changes on their constitutions.

    Ask Barack. He is very big on changing the US Constitution. He does not like the provisions that have been ruled by the Supreme Court. He wants to make sure EVERYTHING is a right. That the STATE guarantees and will be FORCED to manage everyone and take care of everyone. TAKE FROM THE RICH AND GIVE TO THE POOR.

    February 23, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. blaising

    "...short selling does present investors with an opportunity to make profits in a declining or neutral market..."

    Investopedia

    Wake up people!! Sure, the stock market has been tanking, but do you hear the Wall Streeters complaining? Why not?

    While the rest of are freaking out over the dropping numbers, the inside guys have been making a fortune!!

    Wall Street could care less if the market tanks!!

    February 23, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  5. Jack Flannigan

    Neither D.C. or Wall St. have earned the least amount of trust. Both are "Buckwheat" as to the hardships out here in the trenches. Not that I expect anything different from either one, no bitter feelings, just the stark reality that the average Joe or Jane bears no consideration inside the beltway or on Wall St. The only purpose Joe or Jane serve is to act as collateral for their idiotic policies and greed.

    February 23, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  6. steve

    What? This is ridiculous. Everyone knows Congress' approval rating is anemic (around 30%). This is a biased press spinning the questions to beat up on Wall Street and continue the boot-licking of their anointed candidate. Give me a break.

    February 23, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Oregon

    It will be a loooooooonnnnngggg loooooooonnnnnnnggggg time before any Republican gets close to the White House again.

    The American People have LONG memories Republicans. We will NEVER forget what you and your Idiot W and Criminal Cheney did to OUR Country and how you continually try to undermine the common Citizens and give us NOTHING but double-talk. You are disgraceful and should all be impeached, but the bright spot is that you will all be voted out of office soon.
    You are NOT working for the People.

    February 23, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Jon in Ca

    LET'S BE CLEAR....

    Democrats control the White House, Senate, and the House of Representatives.

    Any failure in the economy, homeland security, military deaths abroad, our borders, etc – ALL BELONG TO DEMOCRATS.

    February 23, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Kaley

    Please...Washington and Wall St are so intertwined that it is hard to see where one stops and the other starts. Billions of dollars have flowed from the financial sector into the coffers of the DC rats. Herb and Marion Sandler from World Savings who were knee deep in bad mortgages and sold to Wachovia (which put them under) gave 350,000 to Democrats and 13 million to 527's for Liberal causes. They feed off of one another..one for the pursuit of money and the other for power.

    February 23, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. NYC REPUB

    Ula Nejad, you need to stop listening to the people you listen to...... GOD is no repector of person...... Jesus isn't taking sides at all..... He said give unto God what is God's, and unto ceaser what is ceaser's..... does that sound like a Party line...... Please, as a christian I cringe when we try to use God in politics..... if you really believed in God, you would know that he appoints all leaders Good and Evil...... there is a purpose for everything.......

    February 23, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. kevin

    People have to suffer in this world its called life, its called motivation. You work so you can eat and hopefully if you do it right then maybe you can achieve to greater things. Everyone can't own a house. Sure we can throw money at people now and "help" them stay in their homes and nationalize banks and give universal healthcare etc, but whats going to happen is that you are going to wake up and realize that you, your neighbor and the guy across the street all make $30,000 a year no matter how hard you work, if you go to work or what education you have. No one will have any motivation to aspire to be great since the tax on the "rich" will be staggering. In the end we will all be mediocre and thats exactly what america will end up as.

    February 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Big Al C.

    Lets get the show on the road lets see some arrest made for constitutional injustice by the entire bush white house staff. We all know that bunch is guilty as sin. What seems to be the hold up? Or is it that Nancy's hands are dripping with blood as well?

    February 23, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Rave

    This shows how corrupt Wall Street and the entire Financial industry was during Bush's regime.
    They just got used to the 150 – 200 Million in Bonuses
    Strip them naked and pay that money back to the banks ..everything will be back to normal.
    Mr. Obama is on the right track... nationatize every bank and let's start over from scratch (with proper regulation to avoid corruption)

    February 23, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. v best

    People just need to read & understand what is going on. Why did Bush make these 2 war commitments with a 3rd war still brewing. Why is it that only the intellect know what he did. Can’t people read? His team need to be investigated.

    Wisdom & diplomacy sets you apart from the cloud. You can’t claim to have wisdom if all you see is that which is already visible to the naked eyes. Think ahead beyond earthly limitations.

    Pres. Obama is wise beyond his years. The media misunderstands his way of thinking because we haven’t seen it in our life time. He is not ordinary, therefore he doesn’t think like an ordinary man. During the campaign, McCain/Plain accused him of all kinds of things: terrorist, that one, etc. When Michelle was interview, she laughed & said this kind of things will never make him angry, it is only the injustice that makes him angry. And we saw that when he hear about the executive bonus with tax payers money. I see him not just as a unique intellect that he is but as a 120yr old, wise beyond his age. He envisions the true havoc ahead & he is spreading hope with his speech trying to keep people calm. What the media calls political campaign speech for stimulus is actually designed to promote hope/peace, & prevent catastrophe (riots, mass suicide, increase murder rates) that might happen when people finally start to see the real impart of Bush administration. Politics has nothing to do with it. If you think its politics, then join him to shut the RNC up from spreading fear. He doesn’t care about money & power, he doesn’t seek it, it just comes to him naturally. He made $millions as a writer & very little as the Pres. He is actually losing money. His main goal has always been helping the public. It is very difficult for the President to prevent panic & fear while RNC is preaching fear from the roof top.

    Bush didn’t just double the national deficit, he tripled it. What many people see is the 5trillion he added but the economist & the intellect see his 6trillion additional commitment that he left the next administration & another 2trillion/yr that is created to last for decades. Similar to what Reagan wanted to do with permanent tax cut for the rich, a commitment of 3trillion/yr. We suffer tremendously with Republican pres. Just read your history, national debt, etc. Don’t attack the messenger. This 6trillion additional commitment will not take 787billion to fit, but a bandage is better than watching a person bleed to death. What is wrong with putting pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding even if you can’t afford enough pressure. It is better than just pulling up a chair to sit down & watch. It is not a show, it is an emergency/ crisis. RNC never know how to deal with crisis, so why start now. RNC pours gasoline in a burning building & wonder why people will not vote for them. What RNC is proposing is not just avoiding CPR on a dying patient but also using their famous fear & panic tactic to make those last hours of ‘bleeding to death’ as miserable as possible, as they sit & laugh at the victim & the Pres. Trying to stop the hemorrhage.

    Bush made it so that you can’t just stop the war & pull out, you have to stop it diplomatically & it will take time & more money that we don’t have. The 6trillion additional commitment in war, foreign, & domestic issues will continue to pull us down. Even when the states start to survive. The fed govt will not survive in our life time. We can kiss those glory days good buy for good. This is the worse time ever to be Pres.

    February 23, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. jrzshor

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

    that is truly scary!

    February 23, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Karen

    How hilarious that you show Pelosi when asserting that Americans trust politicians more than Wall Street. Who exactly is this "Wall Street" we don't trust? Most people have their money of some amount tied up in Wall Street, and while there are a few bad apples for sure, socialism sure isn't going to save us. Mr. Obama would do a lot better if he would stop presiding over our economy's funeral, and actually give us some hope. I feel we are being manipulated so that we will be so desperate, we'll accept anything he wants to do, including having Big Brother take over everything. Never before has a president squandered a mandate and the goodwill the voters offered him in so little a time.

    February 23, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. S Callahan

    I really don't think Pres. Obama wants to take your money or your rights.....I think he is interested in making this a fair playing field for all citizens....and truthfully...I really don't believe it's his idea to help the banks.. Wasn't that Pres. Bush's doing? Letting the auto makers fail is devastating to the country for the loss of jobs but it's not the end of the country. If they are left to fail then either they have to shore up some financial responsiblity through reorganization or bankrupcy or both..and the states will need to develope some kind of reeducation or jobs training program (ie: technology, enviromental) to serve those who loose through this.
    It's not all hopeless...I was out shopping this weekend and there were loads of people out buying. Try to be a little positive.

    February 23, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Laura

    Many of those people on Wall Street and the ones who talk all day on CNBC are the biggest bunch of spoiled brats I have ever seen, and they better wake up and realize they are nothing but spoiled instant gratification brats. If they would just shut up for a while, that would make me feel better.

    February 23, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Mark Blackford

    I don't believe this poll. Washington today is a joke, much more full of special interests and accountable to absolutely no one. The house is run by a bunch of baffoons. Reid, Pelosi, Feinstein all are a real joke.
    Wall Street may have problems but CEOs are accountable to shareholders. Barney Frank and those losers caused this economy, not Wall Street.

    February 23, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Chris

    No, Americans don't trust government or wallstreet. Both are in bed with each other. Both will be removed very soon.

    February 23, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Keri

    Uh, b...I believe "pols" is short for "politicians," so no misspelling.

    February 23, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. Automarc

    Trust doesn't match the situation because not very many people trust most politicians. The political system in place today doesn't have our interests at heart.

    It's easy for anyone to blame Bush however based on the problem at hand; is this stimulus the absolute best plan our goverment can come up with to help fix our economy?

    It's Pathedic.....Polosi and her tribe is going to blow Obama's opportunity to do some really great things, he should have ignored her and those idiots around her that decided to spend some much money on things that will do nothing for the economy.

    February 23, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. v best

    Bush didn’t just double the national deficit, he tripled it. What many people see is the 5trillion he added but the economist & the intellect see his 6trillion additional commitment that he left the next administration & another 2trillion/yr that is created to last for decades. Similar to what Reagan wanted to do with permanent tax cut for the rich, a commitment of 3trillion/yr. We suffer tremendously with Republican pres.

    Why did Bush make these 2 war commitments with a 3rd war still brewing. Why is it that only the intellect know what he did. Can’t people read? His team need to be investigated.
    Wisdom & diplomacy sets you apart from the cloud. You can’t claim to have wisdom if all you see is that which is already visible to the naked eyes. Think ahead beyond earthly limitations.

    Just read your history, national debt, etc. Don’t attack the messenger. This 6trillion additional commitment will not take 787billion to fit, but a bandage is better than watching a person bleed to death. What is wrong with putting pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding even if you can’t afford enough pressure. It is better than just pulling up a chair to sit down & watch. It is not a show, it is an emergency/ crisis. RNC never know how to deal with crisis, so why start now. RNC pours gasoline in a burning building & wonder why people will not vote for them. What RNC is proposing is not just avoiding CPR on a dying patient but also using their famous fear & panic tactic to make those last hours of ‘bleeding to death’ as miserable as possible, as they sit & laugh at the victim & the Pres. Trying to stop the hemorrhage.

    Bush made it so that you can’t just stop the war & pull out, you have to stop it diplomatically & it will take time & more money that we don’t have. The 6trillion additional commitment in war, foreign, & domestic issues will continue to pull us down. Even when the states start to survive. The fed govt will not survive in our life time. We can kiss those glory days good buy for good. This is the worse time ever to be Pres.

    February 23, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Joe in NJ

    God, you people make me sick. It's obvious most of you have no clue how business or government works. Take what little money you have left and buy silver and gold. It will probably be the only thing that has any value a year from now.

    February 23, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  25. Rick CT

    The whole separation of Wall Street and Main Street is incredibly misleading. In one way or another the vast majority of us have a stake in the stock market, either through direct investments or through stakes in pension plans, or stakes in pension plans of state and municipal workers (which ultimately show up in the state and local taxes we pay), and the confidence (or lack thereof) generated by rising and falling markets.

    None of us complained when the markets nearly doubled from late 2002 to late-2007. None of us complained when housing prices doubled in about the same period (even though that was completely unsustainable.

    It masked many problems, not all all which were Bush's creation. Yes, there was a lack of oversight at the SEC that could have uncovered the Madoff's of the world, but the biggest deregulation bill was signed by Clinton. Bush did not keep interest rates too low for too long in the 2003-2005 period, the effect of which was to create variable mortgage rates that could not be sustained – the leading cause of the housing crisis. Bush did not block investigations of Freddie and Fannie in 2005 and 2006 when things were still going well, at least on the surface. Dodd and his cronies did that.

    And Bush did not create the stringent mark-to-market accounting that forced write-downs of temporarily impaired assets that ended up reducing bank capital and their ability to lend. It was Bush and his team however that forced bank's investment in Freddie and Fannie preferred stock to become worthless, further reducing bank capital.

    So there's enough blame to go around for this mess, and unfortunately many of the causes are still in DC. Only Bush left.

    However, the market is a leading indicator – and right now, like it or not, they are seeing a lot of hope. If Obama would start spouting the hope he displayed during the campaign – something that disappeared on 1-20-09, maybe that would be a start. Reagun did it, even when he inherited a mess. FDR also did it.

    February 23, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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