February 23rd, 2009
04:07 PM ET
6 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. Independant Vet

    DO YOU HEAR HER OUT CRY AT THE AUTO MAKERS. STOP YOUR FLYING. ######

    NOW LOOK WHAT PELOSI DOES.
    FLYS BACK AN FORTH FROM CALIF. THAT IS A TAX PAYERS COST OF $60,000 EACH WAY. OR ANNUAL COST TO TAXPAYERS OF $ 5,760,000 , THEN SHE COMPLAINS ABOUT THE COST OF THE WAR.

    SHE COULD TAKE A SMALLER PLANE. BUT THAT CRAMPS HER LIFE STYLE. NOW HER LIFE STYLE TAKES PRECEDENCE OVER WAR COST .

    THEN WE HAVE MILITARY FAMILES , DO WITH OUT , WHILE THIS WOMAN HEADS UP THE DO NOTHING CONGRESS . WHAT A TALK OUT OF THE WRONG CORNER OF , THE MOUTH PERSON SHE IS. THEN WE HAVE HER FOR ALL THE ILLLEGALS .

    AMERICA WAKE UP . THEM FLY AROUND , AN MOUTH AROUNDERS IS WHAT GOT US INTO ALL THIS . SPEND THRIFTS, WALL ST , AN NOW WE ARE SUPPOSE TO PAY GILL WE DIE FOR THEM .

    CHECK OBAMA'S STATUS, ON HOW HE GOT HIS HOME, GOT CASH BACK AN THE LOWEST RATE OF INTEREST . aN THE STORY GOES ON AN ON. STIMILUS, STIMULUS, WHY NOT NAME IT ACORN, ACORN FOR THE DEMOCRATS.

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. shoegazer

    Trust and Wall Street are two things that should never be uttered in the same breath.Unfettered Capitalism is no more a panacea than fettered Communism is.Both have shown to be ineffective when it comes to the common good of the Earth's inhabitants.

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Matthew, Detroit

    SERIOUSLY PEOPLE.

    WE NEED TO ALL ELECT PEOPLE THAT DONT SPEND.

    I DONT CARE WHAT PARTY THEY ARE FROM.

    THEY NEED TO Breathe CAPITALISM AND STOP SPENDING.

    What ever people want to do to themselves I dont care. I just dont want to pick up the bill for abortions, children, drug habits, I am broke syndrome, or anything else.

    Your religion is your issue. I cant and dont want to save your soul or talk you into church. I just dont want to pay for people that dont work, have bad health, ate too much, are crazy, are lazy, have a drug habit, etc... etc... etc....

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Don in Albuquerque

    Trust will not continue if you keep dumping bucks in AIG, Citigroup, and Bank of America. I don't believe Americans really want to own these failed groups. Brush em off, let em fall.

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  5. tgjones

    What always makes me chuckle (or would if it weren't so tragic) is that guys like Kevin, who act like the Republicans have had their best interests at heart and are the salvation for the majority middle class, if truth be told probably gross between $30,000 and $40,000 a year and have been the "butt of the joke" for these so called GOP benefactors. It used to really chap my behind when I taught school and some of my fellow teachers would spew the Republican rant all the while they were getting screwed right along with the rest of us. While I'm at it, I can't, for the life of me, understand why any farmer would be a Republican; for years the Dems have proposed legislation for their benefit while the Republicans have actively taken measures to make their lives more difficult and their industry less lucrative. Help me understand guys like "Joe the plumber" who can look at two plans, one supportive to those making less than $250K annually and one that benefits those making substantially more than that at the expense of those who don't and, knowing he doesn't make anywhere near that kind of money, still comes down on the side of the wealthy. Joe! Wake up! You're hurting because you've been getting screwed for the last eight years, not because someone's trying to wrestle your guns out of your hands. First of all, nobody wants your damned guns and it would be political suicide to try and take them away from you; second of all, that particular fear and several others (all things "Socialist" are a danger to our way of life) have led you "Middle Americans" to make some really really really bad decisions these last eight years.

    February 23, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. indyred

    I do trust Washington more than Wall Street, but that's not saying much. After seeing Wall Street burn my life savings, 401k, and Roth IRA; now I hear our president talking about changes in Social Security. I guess that means I have to work more years so that I'll die soon after I meet requirements to draw from Social Security. What kind of bailout are the Baby Boomers getting? Oh yeah, we get to bail out the younger yuppies who overbought and didn't "'understand" what the variable interest rate meant. Give US a break! We pay our bills and paid our mortgages. Help us. We are drowning in these "bailouts."

    February 23, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  7. Joe Frazer III

    Greed...that is what got us into this mess, not the republicans and not the democrats...pure greed. The greed was on Wall St. and in our own community banks.

    As for Washington, Stop Spending on pork and pet projects. Start LEGISLATING, create laws to create jobs. Example: Trains cannot be powered by carbon fuels by 2020. This forces the train companies to come up with something else like maglevs.
    We had balanced budgets under Clinton because Democrats and Republicans had to WORK TOGETHER...so do it again.

    Obama: don't cut the deficit in half...eliminate it, NOW.

    I want solutions...not excuses

    And Please: Democrats and Republicans stop squabbling and LEGISLATE

    February 23, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. Reaction to Closed Minds

    look at the comments here – I kid you not - it is still all GWB's fault ....

    Boy we better take down all those Wall St and big corporation Republican lacky's (half to most of whom supported Prez 44) ... whose next on the ideological partisan firing line? Right wingnut (she actually is a centrist in her public governance style but let's feed the illusion we have created for ourselves so we can watch Ketih Olberman's rants & groove with his hate speech) Palin, doddering McCain, Religon, Mormon nut Romney, Mad Rudy Guiliani, idiot Buch, Darth Vader Cheney ...

    February 23, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Matthew, Detroit

    CALIFORNIA.

    WE all LOVE Solar energy CORRECT.

    Than why does the DEMOCRATIC congress in California shoot down

    a solar energy bill??? Wel it seems that the bill DID NOT require UNION LABOR
    to install all of the solar systems that received the tax breaks.

    SO NOW we cut solar technology spreading because it is only good if

    it benefits UNIONS. That is bunk. Another stupid thought.

    February 23, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    @ Chris

    Laughable. "We lost control of the country and don't agree with the majority who won it, so to hell with democracy...let's have a civil war like Glen Beck, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are suggesting!!! O'Reilly can be the sidelines announcer!!!" How wonderfully American and patriotic of you. Don't like our system of gov't unless it works in your favor? Simple answer: Get out. Nobody's making you stay.

    February 23, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. sadaboutamerica

    President Obama wants the rich to pay for the defense of this country, for the health care of this country, for the unemployment of this country, for the education in this country, and for housing in this country. Oh and yes – he wants everyone to take personal responsibility for themselves. DUH! The DEMs call it leveling the playing field. Sounds like welfare to me.

    February 23, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  12. tjaman

    yes, because it's worked so well redistributing wealth from the poor to the richies, right? Feh. Rs only complain about class warfare when they're not winning it.

    February 23, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. Debby

    Without Wall Street, GM, Ford, Chrysler etc. stock forget generating new jobs if no one is investing. The Stock Market is the most important part of the econony.

    February 23, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. Billy J in Texas

    Trusting Dems over Wall St is a no brainer. But, I must admit I wish we could get rid of Pelosi and Reid and get some folks who think and act a little more like Obama and Clinton. I.E. centrists with charisma as opposed to far lefties that make you wince when they talk about agendas you care about

    February 23, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Mike in Houston

    Maddof is more trustworthy than Pelosi. He knows he was stealing, Pelosi is still in denial.

    February 23, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Audrey

    Social "Security wouldn't be in a mess had the politicians left it alone. It wasn't their money to spend. I worked a lot of years putting money in there.

    Let the people in Congress get busy and pay their income tax like the common man does and perhaps thing could be improved. I make #30,ooo a year and if I didn't pay my income tax I would go to jail or be fined beyond anyone's imagination.

    Instead of giving the big check to the auto industry, send us the money and let us buy a new car and then the money would be spent honestly. Politicians have no idea of dollar amounts. They fly to Italy and tax payers pay the bill and they do this at the time they spread a sorry feeling for the hurting Americans. If it wasn't so sad it would be laughable. And then they send me a $400 check and it doesn't even pay my last month's heating bill. How stupid do you think the honest American is.

    February 23, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Billy J in Texas

    Although I am not advocating socialism, I would like to point out how hard it is to take people with names like ('truth bomb thrower'?) seriously when they say stuff like

    "Never mind that socialism has never done anything but cause POVERTY, TYRRANY, and MISERY in every country that has ever tried it! "

    Uhhh.... Sweden is as socialist as it gets... the government takes care of you from cradle to grave and....... uhhh........ no poverty, no tyranny, and no misery (except from the weather there, I imagine)

    February 23, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Ryan

    Lately, when I read all the comments here and on the "liberal" blogs that I've been reading and usually agreeing with over the past few years, it really astounds me just how misguided and/or uninformed most people are when it comes to the financial crisis. It amazes me how a group of people that are right on many social issues like health care are so wrong when it comes to business. It's one thing to not know and keep quiet, but the vast majority of rhetoric that I've been reading lately really frightens me for what it could to the global marketplace and most of it is very off target in terms of facts.

    Oh, and BTW, I voted for Obama, but when he or members of his economic team don't come to the press conferences with detailed plans, they're not helping the markets. Bush did help cause this, but Obama & Geithner have not provided the inspiration to turn things around, and in some cases have been exacerbating the problem.

    And for those saying "Well give him more time," you don't seem to have the same level of patience from the banks (you know, the ones that you are shareholders of and need to thrive so that you don't lose your stakes as taxpayers). That $350 billion bailout that everyone complains about did significant things when it came to thrawing the credit markets.

    What's it take to get a comment out of moderation on here?

    February 23, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. Mary

    I personally think we need a little more positive coming from the news media, talk shows, economic leaders, etc. How can one watch TV and feel good about life and the economy when we are being told by everyone how bad things are, how the elderly may loose everything, social security, ALWAYS doom and gloom on the boob tube. Lets put some positive back in our lives and possibly everyone will feel better and start going out and even though the money is tight they may just buy one little thing and help start this country on a better path.
    AND lets try and buy AMERICAN made for a change, that is if you can find something made in America. Give Obama a chance, Bush sure knew this was coming and I don't hear anyone saying the Republicans helped anyone while he was in office. Republicans – WAKE UP – we elected Obama for a change and why should we go your way now when we did that for the last 8 years. By the way, I WAS a Republican until Bush messed up my life.

    February 23, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. An outsider

    Now go read John Maynard Keynes – he was, and is, right.

    The Chicago/Bush/.Wall Street/,Maggie Thatcher/,Reagan/ economy theories have been proven incorrect.

    February 23, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. A driver

    I'll buy a car when it is 100% electric. Oil is down, but pump prices are still high.

    February 23, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. Naqib

    No shock here... over half the country wanted the stimulus package... which shows how stupid and sheep like the majority are.

    Yea... wallstreet has less knowledge on money than government... who by the way isn't profit driven and overspends on everythings.

    Wall street... which turns huge profits over any ten year run in history... NEVER LOSSES LONG TERM...

    You bet on the gov... I'll be betting on wallstreet... The gov's never given me a dime that wasn't mine to start with... Wallstreet will help me retire, pay off my house, put my kids through college, buy a boat, motorcycle, cars, etc.... The gov.... well... they give me roads to drive the motorcycle on.... oh wait... I pay property tax.... guess I bought that too.

    February 23, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. Willy Brown

    It took eight years of democrat mud slinging to get to this. Man that's change for you.

    February 23, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Kathryn

    At this point I'm not big on trusting anybody. The banks were doing "business as usual", and the politicians were also doing "business as usual". We, the people, were screwed as usual. Obama last week was giving tax cuts and a big "stimulus" bill, this week he's raising taxes and calling on all the mayors "not to abuse" the money the cities might receive. Wow. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black (no offense intended). Oboma passes a "major pork bill" for all his friends, but tells the mayors to behave themselves. OH, PLEASE!!!!!!! Even some of the people that voted for this jackass are beginning to see him for what he is.

    February 23, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Sound of slience

    You now have a President who talks to the people, not at them.
    No one knows what this stimulus package will do until it is in full effect, no one! We had to put up with Bush for 8 years and he was frankly clueless. So now we have to wait, and hope, and pray. We have to support each other and pull together. We have to be Americans. The nay-sayers are whiners that don't have the courage to stay the course.

    February 23, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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