April 9th, 2009
04:00 PM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Let carmakers go bankrupt, say Americans

 The public used to think that the automakers were too big to fail, but not any longer.
The public used to think that the automakers were too big to fail, but not any longer.

(CNN) – Three-quarters of all Americans think that the federal government should let General Motors or Chrysler go bankrupt rather than pumping more money into the struggling automakers, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll - and most now say that the economy would not face major problems if those companies went into bankruptcy.

The public used to think that the automakers were too big to fail, but not any longer. In December, two-thirds say auto bankruptcies would create major problems or a crisis for the U.S. economy. Now most say that would only cause minor problems or no problems at all.

And Americans don't see any effect on their own lives if the automakers fail: 55 percent say they would face no problems at all if the auto companies went bankrupt. Only 37 percent say they would buy a car from a bankrupt company. But that number rises to 57 percent if the federal government stands behind the warranty on those cars.

The survey includes telephone interviews with 1,023 adult Americans. It was conducted April 3-5, 2009, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

(Full results after the jump)

Should the government let auto companies go bankrupt?
Yes: 76 percent
No 22 percent

What would the effect on the U.S. economy be if auto companies go bankrupt?
Crisis: 10 percent
Major problems: 37 percent
Minor problems: 44 percent
No problems at all: 9 percent

Would there be a crisis or major problems for the U.S. economy if automakers go bankrupt?
Now: 47 percent say yes, 53 percent say no
In December: 66 percent said yes, 33 percent said no

What would the effect on you personally be if auto companies go bankrupt?
Crisis: 3 percent
Major problems: 11 percent
Minor problems: 30 percent
No problems at all: 55 percent

How do you feel about increased government involvement in the way businesses are run?
Gone too far: 35 percent
About right: 42 percent
Not far enough: 23 percent

(Sampling error on the following two questions: plus or minus 4.5 percentage points)

Would you buy a new car from an auto company in bankruptcy?
Yes: 37 percent
No: 63 percent

Would you buy a new car from an auto company in bankruptcy if the government stands behind the warranty?
Yes: 57 percent
No: 42 percent


Filed under: Auto Bailout
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. mgollinger

    When did Americans stop looking out for Americans?
    all for one, and one for..........me.
    This is the kind of thinking that steered me away from the Republican party. People are crazy if they think the demize of any of the big 3 won't affect them directly. What will you drive when you loose your job.

    April 9, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. CA Indie for Obama

    "Urban legends" say the car companies have these patents for 100 miles a gallon engines, electric cars, etc. Should GM and Chrysler walk the plank, those patents would be an asset that would be sold in the liquidation. If they exist, it could be the start of a new "green" car company...
    or a GM bankruptcy could the best thing that happened to Ford, Toyota, Honda, VW....

    April 9, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. rosita

    As a good American, YES! LET THEM GO UNDER!!!

    Maybe it's time for them to learn from Toyota or others what it takes to attrack the American people to buy their cars. They missed the boat big time!!! Have you seen those prices of GM trucks, it's ridiculous!
    LET THEM GO!!!!

    April 9, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Texas Annie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    Do people not realize that if the big automakers go bankrupt that it also affects the thousands of smaller businesses down the line that supply parts & do contract work? Most of those are smaller maybe even family owned businesses. So in your haste to condemn the big automakers (and I dont' like how they've conducted their business myself) don't cut off & injure the innocent people down the line.

    April 9, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Brodie J. Bell

    well the good thing to this story is when one sinks theirs always a new one to take its place! im sorry but thats it, yes that simple! why obama steped in to help, well i think he was just hoping for the best in such a great american car corparation that has so much history and founded in this great country U.S.A. GMC is one of the biggest at that! so i believe he was looking out for the american people! number of jobs which im sure the number of employes is at 6 hundred thousand, not including all the jobs that would be opend in finding a fuel alternative! and having other countrys buying our cars! hard to just let it sink, OBAMA IS a genius and he knows we will find the solution no matter what thats not the question! so dont get confused for his reasons, seriously please dont question that man if you could!

    April 9, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. a real republican

    The bottom line is even if the car companies succeed in breaking the unions they will not be able to compete in the marketplace. I can't understand why americans continue to think that we can compete on a world stage where workers make pennies on the dollar compared to what U.S. workers make. I don't think it is protectionism to make foriegn industries compete with americans on an even playing field. Lets see china, Korea, and Japan start having to pay L&I taxes unemployment benefits, and the kind of State and local B&O taxes that american companies pay. The world economy is not raising those nations to the economic status that America once had. It is dragging us down to their standard. Meanwhile the tax and spend democrats want to blow up our dollar and spend us into bankrupcy, We are becoming a third world nation, and the government wants us to believe we have a tax base to support trillions of dollars in spending. I feel our days as the worlds superpower are over. Might want to think about learning to speak chinese, and forget about freedom. Hail Obama Lord of the american collapse

    April 9, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  7. Lee in TN

    Most Americans are not told that the Detroit 3 was the major deciding factor in WWII. It was not that we out strategized the Japanese and German armies, it was the fact that we out produced the enemies. Any member of the House or Senate that does not support these companies as a vital part of our ability to defend ourselves is on the take and not a true patriot. When it comes to building America's war machine, we shouldn't rely on the Japanese or Germans and certainly not China who has funded every enemy we have fought since WWII.

    April 9, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. 4 and No More

    The auto maker bailout was doomed from the start. This is going to be a lesson for future administrations to look back on and see what kind of things just don't work. " How not to govern".

    Poor Nancy, and she was just so convinced this was such a wonderful idea! I'm sure the UAW still loves her.

    April 9, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Randy

    For the big 3 auto makers NO MORE MONEY!!!!!!!!

    April 9, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. Pappy

    Nice to see so many Union "experts" pontificating here.

    Fact Direct union labor accounts for just 12 % of what a new vehicle costs.
    Fact The US automakers are the lowest paid of any industrialized nation.
    Fact The unions created the middle class in this country.
    Fact When the unions are gone, so goes the middle class with them.
    Fact 1 in 7 jobs in the nation are tied or dependent on the auto industry..

    How many of you folks were queried on whether the taxpayers should GIVE about 260 times what the automakers are asking in LOANS ?

    Think before you speak.

    April 9, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Philly Faf

    No nation has ever prospered without a strong manufacturing base and the automotive industry is the backbone of our manufacturing base. History shows that the Industrial Revolution turned us into the world's most powerful nation. History also tells us of how the automotive industry stopped building cars and started building tanks and planes to support our WWII efforts and took us to victory over the Nazis and Imperial Japan. More recent history includes events like 9/11 and Katrina, where the American 3 donated boatloads of money and resources to the recovery efforts, while the rest of the world's automakers looked the other way. The ignorance and lack of patriotism in this string of comments is appalling.

    April 9, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  12. GUY

    Um... no one paid attention to public opinion when the majority were not in favor of the FIRST BAZILLION DOLLAR bailout idea, not one listened when the public said, let the banks fail and people were ignored AGAIN with ANOTHER BAZILLION DOLLAR bailout.... WHY, would anyone care what they people think or want???

    It doesn't matter – there's a plan in the works to destroy our economy... why else would they pump so much money into a badly managed banking system and not make any changes in the leadership of those five banks – let's give more money, let them keep running them into the ground. Yet, we insist that the head of a car company step down for his bad management skills??

    Smoke and mirrors! Some of us aren't stupid...

    April 9, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. S Callaha

    Well, I disagree...it's not just the auto workers who would be affected....you are talking about entire communities becoming ghost towns....you're talking about hundreds of thousand of auto parts stores with no inventory (leading to closure)..you're talking about hundereds of thousands of cars that won't be serviced because there will be no parts.....then you are talking about layoff is essentially every community in America...this could go further to clothing stores with no buyers, food stores depending on food stamps for their bottom line, taxes going up at the Federal level to support the overburden system....need I go on??? What pisses people off is the lack of accountablity, to this day, of what the banks did with our money....and people have run out of trust in their government and the corportations...the con is over essentially.

    April 9, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  14. georgethornton

    Whoa!!!! why is everyone blaming the union. Not the executives, shareholders, wall street, lawyers, consultants, government.... No it's all the fault of the guy working the line for 40 / 40. You all have been hoodwinked by lairs to blame the union for the mistakes of others. How can the one with least to gain be the blamed for most of the loss.

    Do, you really think if these guys got only 50K a year instead of 70K, everything would have been ok? Thats crazy talk, thats why there is a union to begin with.

    April 9, 2009 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  15. Roland

    We should have let them go bankrupt before we gave them taxpayers money and the Politician's should have stop that process. We need to stop rewarding failure in this country because failure is not an option when it comes to the welfare of millions of taxpayer's lives in the balance.

    April 9, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. Robert K

    More jobs lost is not a
    Good thing we need to provide
    Them the minimum amount
    Of support they need to
    Survive

    April 10, 2009 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
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