December 22nd, 2008
04:03 PM ET
14 years ago

Poll: Most approve of the auto bailout - but no additional funds

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Auto sales have plummeted in recent months."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that a majority of Americans approve of recent loans to the big U.S. automakers, but fewer than three in ten would support any additional assistance if the domestic auto industry asked for such help.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey support the roughly $13 billion loan package the White House is extending to American automakers to prevent them from going into bankruptcy, with 37 percent opposing the move.

In exchange for the loans, the deal calls for the auto companies to come up with plans by the end of March that show how they would change their business models to become viable in the future.

But if the auto companies should ask for more taxpayer assistance, the poll indicates that public opinion changes dramatically. Only 28 percent would approve of providing the automakers more money, with 70 percent saying let them go bankrupt.

"One reason for that: only 15 percent say that the country would face a crisis if the automakers went bankrupt, and half say that would not cause any problems for them personally at all . But most say that the country would face major problems if the auto companies were in bankruptcy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Holland says the opposition to any additional assistance may be a reluctance to spend more money that they think the government may never see again. Only 28 percent, he adds, say the auto companies involved in the current program will be able to pay all or most of the $13 billion back; one in five say they will not be able to pay any of it back to the government.

"This perceived lack of ability to pay taxpayers back may be one reason why the poll indicates auto executives are not very popular with Americans. Eighty-two percent of those questioned have a negative view of auto executives," says Holland.

Union leaders don't fare so well either: Sixty-one percent of those polled have a negative view of labor leadership.

If the big automakers fall into bankruptcy, Americans may be less willing to buy from them. Two-thirds of those polled say they would be less likely to buy a car from an auto company in bankruptcy.

The CNN/Opinion Research poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: Auto Bailout • CNN poll
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. BB

    No more money to corporate or banks. Give it to the people to spend. We will vote for who we want to have it by spending it where we want it spent.

    December 22, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. 100% Transparent

    I personally think they need to halt ANY AND ALL monies to those needing a bail out until they come up with a written agreement that the company is made to sign. They must agree to track and disclose all use of the money. ALL OF IT! It needs to be COMPLETELY transparent. Don't let the companies write the agreement......have a lawyer (non senate) write it and make NO exclusions to the rule of ANY sort.

    If they want the bail out, they should be willing to sign it. If they don't want to sign it...then obviously they intend to use it illegally and should be shot on site!

    December 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. William

    It must have been a push-poll. I know NO ONE who supports a bail out of the auto industry. It's a bad idea all the way round. The industry has been mismanaged and producing inferior products for 35 years. They aren't going to change overnight - if they change at all (are you listening Crysler?). The government should allow the Big Three to go under and help entrepreneurs, who would build good, efficient cars, with low-cost long term loans. Now all sorts of business are jumping on the "bail me out" bandwagon. But as soon as they are and they're turning big, fat profits again, they'll start yelping about how the big, bad government and their "socialist" regulations are hurting business.

    December 22, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. John Q

    It's time American looks after ourselves, when we we fine sending Columbia billions to fight the war on drugs. The war on drugs could be kept out of the US by using those billions to hire boarder agents, and high tech boarder sensors instead of a physical wall. The moneys there, Americans need jobs. A million new jobs need new vehicles, and at the same time, we stop boarder crimes., helping our nation even more.

    December 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Buckeye

    What about the banks? Over one hundred of them got over $700 billion and We, The People have no idea what they did with it so far. But we do know that the economic crisis is deepening and the credit market is still frozen. Why no accounting from the banks about what they are doing with the peoples money?

    December 22, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. Matt

    Polling: Helping invent news since the dark ages.

    December 22, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Beverly, NYC

    Talk about throwing good money after bad. The big three should be forced to re-structure. If you were doing a performance review for them they would be unsatisfactory. Auto makers are the only company that can put out crap year after year, issue recalls for said products only after killing purchasers and still feel they have the right to survive. The UAW are also doing a dis-service to their worker by not accepting concessions, $75 dollars an hour for unskilled computerized is ridiculous. Unions have had their day, they are now part of the problem.

    December 22, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  8. no more

    The car makers are dying and their burning our money for the funeral.

    Stop the Republican and Democrat madness of all of these bailouts.

    The government has lost its mind and is running willy-nilly wild throwing around money that doesn't exist. You want to know what started the great depression? a run on the banks because the money was worthless....We're just doing it again. If the government gave me $1Trillion tomorrow would anyone believe that it was real and I could spend it?

    This is government funny money...

    December 22, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Becky, KS

    No. The auto bailout is not a good thing. It was the easy way out. Why should the tax payers pay for bad decisions? Bad management? The bankruptcy option is there for this very purpose. I'm disappointed. Taxpayers are tapped out, taxed to death, especially after eight years under Bush. Let the auto makers file for bankruptcy and reorganize. Other corporations do it. They're not special.

    December 22, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. c from stl

    This bailout was not a good move, neither was the financial one....

    December 22, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    BALONEY.... polls have consistently shown Americans to be against these bailouts that go for bonuses, corporate jets, and deep pockets of executives....

    December 22, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Cary Lacayo

    It's not that I approve...It's the only thing to do under the circumstances. BK isn't the answer, unlike those republicans who wanted it. I am a UAW employee for the Areospace Industry and it makes sick to see this happen, while the ceo's of these company's are failing. The audacity of those so called ceo's to push blame towards the workers.

    December 22, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Observant

    My sampling poll indicates that 99% of the individuals I spoke with are against it. The one person that supported the auto bailout admits that she knows nothing about finances.

    December 22, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Practical Gal

    I don't know who was polled to get this outcome but no one I have spoken to approves. Let's face it, the auto makers (and the union) got themselves into this situation by not planning ahead carefully. What exactly are we bailing out? No one wants taxes increased but where will the money come from? I've heard we have to keep the automakers employed. Who are we building cars for? No one is buying them right now. For the money they want, they offer an inferior product built by overpaid employees who take full advantage of their union benefits. The American auto makers have had since the mid 1970's to come up with a better, fuel efficent car and failed. Instead, their research and development led them to buld bigger and bigger vehicles. They have themselves to blame. If this is a loan, don't look for it to be repaid. In a month, there will be NO improvement AND they won't be able to account for the money (just like the banks and wall street). I'm fed up with all of this.

    December 22, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. Dayahka

    These companies will probably be bankrupt long before March. Bush only acted because we are in a transition period, in the Christmas season, and winter is here. His lackadaisical approach to regulations and controls of the financial system and auto companies will, however, be his lasting legacy.

    December 22, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Independant Vet



    December 22, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. al in memphis

    Talk about irony– all the money the auto company spent to resist the changes the government previously tried to promote. If they had just taken some of that money and invested in leading technology, they would not need money from the government they resisted.

    Bailouts is what happens when you don't control radical economic extremist (otherwise know as greedy, unregulated businesses) - Free markets are for honerable people.

    December 22, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. strong

    It doesn't matter what the average citizen feels or thinks. We have no say in anything at all. At all! Just pay your taxes and shut up.

    December 22, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Lawrence in Denver

    I would support extending subsequent loans to the auto industry if they change their business models. If they do not then consider them a lost cause.

    ~Lawrence in Denver

    December 22, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Charles Thompson

    Comments like the following are not constructive conversation.

    It doesn't matter what the average citizen feels or thinks. We have no say in anything at all. At all! Just pay your taxes and shut up.

    I feel bad that this person does not think that their voice counts. The Constitution of the United States would strongly say that he or she does have a voice and it makes a difference.

    December 22, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Mike T. Vaughn

    UUHHMMM while the Auto is being trashed, why hasn't AIG been called to the floor for their misappropriations of funds?????? We know they partied with the money and gave bonuses..........Why have they not been called to the floor???????? Does someone in Congress have stock with that company????????

    December 22, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  22. Change - Yeah Left

    I didn't approve of it. I don't know anyone who does. They must have done their polling in cities where the auto industry exists. Or where the unions have a stranglehold on the normal person.

    December 22, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Timothy

    Not surprised by this poll. I believe most Americans wonder why we hold the auto industry's feet to the fire but we give a blank check to AIG and WallStreet?? Whats up with that??

    December 22, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Miss Mellie

    I thought at first that this article must be a joke. Certainly, 63 percent of Americans can not believe that it is OK to bailout one industry and not another. Where were the bailouts when homebuilders were being put out of business along with the businesses that provide services to them – roofers, tilers, masons, painters, furniture stores, interior designers, mortgage companies, etc.? Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs when housing slowed down. Where were the big government bailouts then? Why is the auto industry worth saving when most likely it will be a very, very long time before they ever see profits again (if ever).

    December 22, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Francis, Hawaii

    Make sure this time the executives have to be accountable for every cent. No more of this bonuses and other perks for the executives like those of the financial institutes. This money goes to bring down the company debts and keeping their employess working, no shut down of factories and work for their money!!!

    December 22, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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