Polls: Americans split over auto bailout support
A car is manufactured on the assembly line at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
February 24th, 2012
11:09 AM ET
3 years ago

Polls: Americans split over auto bailout support

(CNN) - As Mitt Romney gets ready to face union protests Friday over his opposition to the 2008-2009 bailouts of the auto industry, two new polls are somewhat at odds over where Americans stand on the issue.

According to a Gallup poll released Wednesday, 51% of Americans say they disapprove of the financial bailouts for General Motors and Chrysler, which at the time were in danger of failing. Forty-four percent say they approve of the government's action. The survey indicates a partisan divide, with more than six in ten Democrats supporting the bailouts, nearly three-quarters of Republicans opposing them, and independent voters divided, with 45% approving and 50% saying they disapprove of the bailouts.

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A new poll from the Pew Research Center asks a different question and gets a different answer. According to the survey, 56% of Americans say the federal government's assistance to the auto makers was mostly good for the economy, with 38% saying they were mostly bad for the country's economy. Those numbers were reversed when Pew asked the same question in October 2009.

According to the Pew poll, more than seven in ten Democrats say the loans were a good thing, with independents agreeing by a 54% to 40% margin, and Republicans saying by a 52% to 44% margin that the bailouts were bad for the economy.

Romney advocated a managed bankruptcy for the auto industry in 2008, before the Michigan-based auto companies received federal financing as part of a bankruptcy process. He is frequently criticized by Democrats for the stance but has said the companies should have addressed the problems on their own instead of receiving federal aid to whether the economic downturn.

The Pew Research Center poll was conducted between February 8 and February 12, with 1,501 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

The Gallup Poll was conducted between February 20 and February 21, with 1,040 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • Auto Bailout • Mitt Romney • Polls
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. jon

    The auto industry bail out saved the companies and millions of jobs. If they didn't we would be in a much worse economic situation. Closing the doors on manufacturing companies in the U.S. is not the answer, saving them is.

    February 24, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "So Obama's "prerequisites" are going to prevent the auto industry from ever needing a bailout again, you say? Or will they just nationalize the industry if it happens again?"

    First, the idea that ANYONE could do ANYTHING to guarantee that the auto industry will never need a bailout again is a total straw man. That's just wishful thinking no matter who makes the claim.

    Second, they didn't nationalize it this time, so what makes you think they'd nationalize it next time? Past behavior is prelude to future behavior. And no, there's not a signle cogent, rational, non-tinfoil-hatted argument that can be made that they "nationalized" the auto industry this time. That's just right wing spin machine retro-McCarthyism nonsense from the same conservative "think tanks" that gifted the country with gems like "trickle down economics" and "enemy combatants."

    February 24, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Fair is Fair
    Well, well... if it isn't our resident counselor popping in after a brief hiatus. Busy time in land court?

    So Obama's "prerequisites" are going to prevent the auto industry from ever needing a bailout again, you say? Or will they just nationalize the industry if it happens again?
    ------------------------
    Why don't you do the search that Sniffit recommended FIRST,so that you can stop sounding like a willful idiot? You talk about people resorting to name calling and such but it's hard not to with people like you who are offered a place to find information, and because they fear that it won't suit their preconceived notions and hatred they rather remain stupid, AND make stupid comments. You're too old to be making such a pitiful spectacle of yourself on a public site.

    February 24, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    "You talk about people resorting to name calling and such but it's hard not to with people like you who are offered a place to find information, and because they fear that it won't suit their preconceived notions and hatred they rather remain stupid, AND make stupid comments. You're too old to be making such a pitiful spectacle of yourself on a public site."
    --------
    Ooooooooooo.... looks like I hit a nerve. Auto industry employee I presume?

    February 24, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Country Above the Parties

    How stupid and dumb half the people who call themselves "AMERICANS". They are brainwashed to believe everything govt is bad–except when it comes to their SS, medicare, military spending, etc. This bailout is a great success story. GM is back at world #1 auto industries. Bankrupcy would have taken us back to Great Depression. May be that's what they wanted so their one and only goal of making this half-black POTUS looks badddddd....

    February 24, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    @ Tom Paine –

    Nope – I've got no problem with regulation. I do have a problem with over-regulation, though, and so should you.

    The point I was trying to make with the poster is that he (or she) was equating the bailout of the auto industry in 2008 with the LACK of a bank bailout in the 1930's. My point was that as a result of the government's failure in the 1930's, an industry funded remedy to the problem was created – and it's worked quite well since then. No one is saying there could be an "FDIC for the auto industry". There cannot be. BUT there cannot be continual bailouts for a failing industry – it's like feeding a stray cat. They just keep coming back for more.

    February 24, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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