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. Alex

    Many people here, particularly Truth Bomb Thrower need to learn how to differentiate between socialist and communist countries. Canada, France, Sweden, etc.; these are "socialist" countries. These countries have less tyranny, poverty and misery than does the US. You could also add Venezuela and Bolivia as socialist; both of these countries have more or less the same levels of poverty and tyranny than they did under capitalist regimes.

    The type of tyranny and poverty you are talking about comes from COMMUNIST countries like are China and Cuba.

    Communism refers to the abrogation of private property and common ownership of the means of production. This is the type of system you are talking about. Further, many Marxists believe the communist states to be deformed versions of communism.

    February 23, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  2. Dan

    wall street vs washington...lesser of two evils

    February 23, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. John Z

    According to Republicans Wallstreet can police itself, this was proven to be incorrect and the people have had enough.

    February 23, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Automarc

    Barney Frank is a great decision maker, with his track record he's entitled to spend everyones money!

    He should have run for president since the current president is now working for him!

    February 23, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. adampeart

    Wall St. banksters OWN Washington you fools! While it seems they've got you focused through means of media manipulation and social ignorance that it's good cop/bad cop, both the Federal Reserve/World banks AND politicians are raping us of our wealth, and by the looks of these comments we idiots stand idly by, waiting for our enslavement for the sake of paltry government handouts. If you mental midgets don't wake up to the reality that Republicans and Democrats are on the same team to control the apathetic masses then we're all doomed. And where are you anti-war Obama people anyway? All is silent on the war front from you people despite the fact that he's EXPANDING the war! Fools again I say. And who's financing both sides of this war, or any other for the last three hundred years? Globalist banks. Ever notice how foreign policy never REALLY changes from one president to the next, regardless of party? Because the President, or congress for that matter don't run the show. Pick up a non-state supplied history book and read it. Or don't. Just believe everything Obama says.. I mean, you'd all walk to Texas with a bag of dung on your head if he asked you to so.... FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO TAKE THE RED PILL, read The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. WAKE UP AMERICA! Revolution is at hand, whether you stick your head in the sand or not.

    February 23, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Lynn

    Maybe someone should send these poll results as well as those published by the Washington Post polls to Wolf Blitzer who has been nothing but negative about anything the Obama administration is doing.

    February 23, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Jason

    I agree with "Matthew,Detroit" and "True Conservative".

    And at this point everyone should be able to tell that GOP and Dems are just another way of saying "bloods" and "crips" - they wear blue or red and fight with each other and both steal our money for their own benefit.

    Obama is quickly wasting an opportunity to help the country - unfortunately continuing to "change the rules" of capital markets every week with another inconsistent and rushed government plan. This is what government and FDR did for 10 yrs during the 1930s and it kept us from prosperity for over 10 yrs.

    What brought New York out of municipal bankruptcy in the 1970s was creating an office which could break union contracts and lay off union staff -– just the opposite as what Obama and the liberal states (NY, NJ, IL, FL...) are doing now which is expand the spending/entitlement programs - they are just delaying bankruptcy. California will quickly learn when all of the successfull people and businesses leave their state for states with lower taxes.

    February 23, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  8. Matthew, Detroit


    How about a little botox. That might be good for stimulus bill.

    I like it. Baracks guys are on MSNBC admitting that they should have focused the STIMULUS bill on the infrastructure spending as was first suggested rather than the "general" spending that could have been eliminated.

    Looks like they are going to be looking for another 300 billion in 3 months. NICE MORE SPENDING.

    February 23, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. fearful for my country

    They are giving the money to the wrong people. It's time to give to the taxpayers and let it actually stimulate the economy. When you give it to the guys with money, they hoard it or swap it back and forth with other guys that have money.; Give it to the have nots!

    February 23, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. Chris

    Matthew, did you know that Bush did more to take away from our constitutional rights than any other president in history? To even suggest that Obama will do the same thing is ridiculous because, 1) If he DID do that he would be impeached faster than you can blink and 2) He has only been in office a little over a month. I bet you think that you are so smart by comparing Obama to a socialist (nobody has ever done that before), even though there isn't a single argument that you give to suggest so.

    February 23, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  11. Matthew, Detroit

    BIG AL C.





    February 23, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    @ Mathew, Detroit

    Who wants to change the Constitution? Nobody's proposing that other than the GOP. One more conservative on that bench and we'd all be calling it the King James Constitution. And if you're talking about the 2nd Amendment fear-mongering the GOP used to create a smokescreen for the gun buying bonanza engaged in by the weekend pseudo-militias that always come out of the woodwork whenever a Dem holds the office of POTUS, then you can go back and refer to Holder's comments about upholding the Supreme Court's ruling on the subject. Other than that issue, however, you're just fabricating nonsense, because no other issue exists to come close to fitting your accusation.

    February 23, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. adampeart


    February 23, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. Rob

    Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are going to destroy this country, and you koolaid drinking freaks are going to sit around drooling onver pictures of Barrak, fantazing about being with him.

    If he told you to jump off a cliff, you'd go without question. Hmm, maybe that's a good way to get this country back on track.

    And Sniffit, if you had 1/2 a brian you may by 1/8 dangerous. I'd give ya a buck to go get a clue, but you'd probably drool on it and send it to Barry.

    February 23, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. Jon

    Bush and Cheney poured a trillion dollars into Iraq, it was a success...except most of the money was stolen by Bush and Cheney's contractor friends. And all of the money was deficit...but it wasn't counted in the budget.

    Bush and Cheney's Wall Street friends then stole every penny in the banks, so Bush and Cheney printed up 350 billion dollars of deficit, gave it to their Wall Street friends, and Wall Street stole most of that too.

    What's most surprising is that most Republicans still support these massive thefts from the taxpayer (it's called a "re-distribution of wealth"...from working people to the rich).

    February 23, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. tony

    Ironic, since the majority of the elected officials seem to not pay their taxes. These are the same elected officials who voted to RESCUE AIG, the group that is responsible for the senates and the congress retirement plans, who did you poll CNN? The majority of the execs and our senators/congress worry about their wallets or re-election, it truly is a shame.

    February 23, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. Debbie

    I trust the new administration, but not Congress or Wall Street. Congress bailed out AIG to save their own pensions. It had nothing to do with stimulating the economy. Boycott the banks that got bailout money and aren't lending it. Vote out everyone who voted to give them money. Top of the list to go should be Pelosi, Reid, Dodd and Frank. And vote out all the Repulicans who couldn't come up with anything other than "tax cuts" to save the economy. Like this problem started last week.

    February 23, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. edlynn

    So, guess what? America tried the Bush/Republican way of doing things for 8 long years. And many feel not entirely by choice. And that didn't exactly work out for us. Starting a war with those who didn't attack us while letting those that did get away – and spending much more than all the stimuluses combined in the useless process. Destroying the economy. Even their greatest supporters, whose corner they were in so deeply, the Wall Street types ended up ruined. But here we've made a clear, resounding choice. Now we're going to try things the Obama/Democratic way. The verdict is out on the Bush/Republican way, but there's still years to go before we'll know how the Obama/Democratic way turned out. So quit trying to sabotage our recovery, you sore losers, and get with the program!

    February 23, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. FreeNLovIt

    Yes. Like a song "one on one', the heart isnt always true. This is why we have to regulate businesses. Deregulation is only for a country full of Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul, but not for a bunch of Darth Vaders and Siths, running around 🙂

    February 23, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. FreeNLovIt

    There is no credibility in the Elephants, until they pay off the 5 trilliondollars debt, left by giving W a blank check. Once paid off, I will listen to them again.

    February 23, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    Obie is not a perfect man, but for some reasons, I trust him. With all my heart, I know that he wants to do the right thing.

    February 23, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  22. Bob in Pa

    Yeah, I trust Pelosi and Reid NOT!
    The majority of us are about to become second class citizens through the meltdown of the market ant the effect on 401Ks. The middle class will seize to exist. We will be easy pickings after that.

    February 23, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    HEY Republicans Mislead America,




    February 23, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  24. Hammer

    Polls are opinions of a select few.
    Check what the economy numbers say and you will see that the economy has reached new lows every day since Obama and Nancy and Harry have been making decisions. That is reality and you can say what you want but with this bunch this counrty is in a downward spiral and no matter how you spin it the results mean disaster.
    The news can continue to spin Obama's plans, by doing as Bill Clinton says, lie about the economy and how great the plans are or will work. Some time soon the truth will be undeniable and that time may be to late.

    February 23, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  25. Left Coast Mike, Laguna Niguel, CA

    Let's just cut right to it.

    The percentages represent what's left of the stinking rotten corpse that is the "R" party and their fat lobbyists piggy friends. The reason hardly anyone has any confidence that auto execs, investment bankers, and wall street traitiors (yeah, I spell it my way) is that they have betrayed their country for a few pieces of silver, with the collaboration of the republican party, it's now-retired incompetent "W", and its gutless legislators who have sent thousands of our kids to die so we can control a lot of sand in the desert. Congress has a higher rating now than it did just a few months ago and if you don't think that has anything to do with more "R" people not in it, you're drinking the right wing, radicalized christian Kool Aid.

    February 23, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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