(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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