February 23rd, 2009
04:07 PM ET
11 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. ACFX

    Federal Govt, Wall street, & The Fed:
    – Put us back to honest money, i.e. Gold standard. End fractional reserve lending, then step away from the Crisis!

    February 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. Rick Sutter

    It was Obama's plan all along to try to get the public to trust government more than they trust business. That's how socialism begins. First you create class warfare, then a sense of entitlement amongst the less capable and less productive and, voila! Socialism. All you have to do is scroll down and look at the illiterate ranting of Brandon @ 4:18. He has bought it lock, stock, and barrel.

    February 23, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. John

    We now have a Democrat in the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress are from the Democratic party and middle class people have a good reason for hope. On the other hand, the republican party and their wealthy supporters seemed to be engaged in class warfare against the rest of America.

    February 23, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. John

    We now have a Democrat in the White House and majorities in both houses of Congress are from the Democratic party and middle class people have a good reason for hope.

    On the other hand, the republican party and their wealthy supporters seemed to be engaged in class warfare against the rest of America. The republicans in congress have shown a complete disregard for middle class America and seemed to be quite comfortable with the current economic situation.

    February 23, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. neil

    Anybody else getting the feeling none of the current or past administration has a clue as to what they are doing. Small business provides 70% + of all jobs but gets only 1% of the stimulus package. Obviously big lobby money tops commen sense as usual, no change here.

    February 23, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  6. Ali.

    Why Republican always oppose what Democrate propose.I think,it 's becuase republican want democrat to missled the country and then later they come up with agenda of change to win election.Those big boys don't want the right direction that tthe Democrat has taken.They just fighting for power only.

    February 23, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. Chloe

    Washington is filled with Democrats. Wall Street is filled with Republicans. Enough said.

    February 23, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Jarrod

    We spent on war and tax cuts for rich and buisiness for 8 years. Now we spend to repair infrastructure, or balance the tax code and its socialism run for the hills!! What the hell people. I had to pay tax dollars to Be in Iraq, and then re-build Iraq. Can we re-build here now? If Americans looked at the 'semi-socialized' countries in Europe , they would see they are investing in their infrastructure, that their health care is more accessible and affordable, and they have less of a gap between the poor and rich.
    Seems to me the rich are screaming the loudest. Maybe they have the most to lose. But in every land through time, when the 1% at the top are supported by the 99% at the bottom, eventually there is REVOLUTION. Otherwise, we would still be British.

    February 23, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. Nancy

    How could anyone have faith in Wall Street? Their greed got us where we are.

    President Obama has worked harder in 30 days than Bush did his entire presidency. I have access to more information to what is happening in Washington, than I certainly have in the last 8 years. Evidently Wall Street wasn't worried about the debt Bush was racking up-and for what?

    Wall Street drops when any help comes to middle class instead of those greedy "players."

    February 23, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. M Gregg

    The way I see it there are 545 people responsible for the mess we are in. They are the only ones who pass the laws for this country. No $ can be spent without their approval. Congress 435, Senate 100, Supreme court 9 and 1 President. It takes a majority of this group to cause this kind of chaos. Wall street has it's problems for sure but they all work on the edge of the laws passed by these people. The more government tries redirect the natural flow of our economy the more they hurt the middle class. But maybe that's the idea, a smaller middle class and a larger dependent class for them to rule over!

    February 23, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. MJ

    If people will lookup the word socialism and reference that term in their everyday life, then they will understand what the president means by socializing with the Republicans. People we can't let the Republicans and WallStreet lead us into a recession we don't need. Be careful about how you partake any measure and criticize the President. He is only telling us how we can get out of this mess and how he plan to fix this mess. So either you are with him or not. Remember we voted for change and he promise to let us know what is going on and what he is going to do and we are still complaining about knowing the truth. If you never understood anything in life, the truth hurts when you know it and a lie only hurt when you hear it because that is what we expect. Now the truth is being told and we can't except it because we are use to lies and not the truth. Well people get over it because President Obama is telling us the truth and no lies.

    February 23, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. knock knock RJ

    @Steve the real one.Just pick one and let us watch.

    February 23, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. MZ

    That's like asking : Who would you trust more to baby sit your kids , Jeffrey Dahlmer or Ted Bundy !!!

    February 23, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Mitchell from MS



    February 23, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. YBM

    For all the left wing liberal nutjob sheeple out there,,,,,where do you think the money to pay back all these "stimulus' packages is going to come from,,,,,hmmmmm????

    The democratic congress monkey's numbers do not add up. The antichrist is sending this country to he!! in a handbasket in a big hurry, or at least the same way as the roman empire went.

    February 23, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. amf

    I dont think so.

    February 23, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Nostalgic

    To Quote Welcome Back........."Well kiddies, the stockmarket fell to 1997 levels today. Congratulations to the President and Congress; they have taken us back to the Bill Clinton years."............What was so terrible about the Bill Clinton Years? We had low unemployment , lower healthcare costs , a Stable Economy AND a Budget Surplus!........8 years of the Bush administration More than Tripled my health insurance premiums and Halved my 401k . Yes! Bill Clinton cheated on his wife. that was a Personal Tragedy for his family. It was not A National Tragedy like we find ourselves in today . Bill Clinton was the first president to have a special prosecutor assigned to (Hound) or "investigate" him. Perhaps if he had been allowed to focus on the job at hand he could have prevented the Real Tragedy of Sept 11. ...The "Bushwacking" of America for the last 8 years will take President Obama Years to Undo. The Republican strategy is clear . Distract, impede and embarass President Obama at every chance. Under no circumstances should he be allowed to succeed. The Republicans cannot have an improving economy and optimistic American citizens if they are to defeat President Obama in 4 years. They have chosen to put their political ambitions First and America's Interests Last!.........What A Surprise!

    February 23, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Peter (CA)

    The poll does not say much...Wall Street is correctly being brutalized for its unfettered greed. Yes we are a capitalistic country but you cannot expect completely unregulated business to do what is best for the consumer or its workers. It may have at one time a long time ago but not since the world became an open market with jobs moving to whatever country can promise the lowest wage and the least environmental regulation.

    Thank God that President Obama is behaving like an adult because I don't trust Congress (ANY of them) to do the right thing.
    So, let's continue to have debate. Let's continue to come up with ideas.
    But enough of the right wing bleating with no solutions. What do you say Willy Brown, any constructive ideas?

    February 23, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. mike


    February 23, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Honest Abe

    The Racists are calling it 'Socialism'. The non-rich Republicans are ABSOLUTELY STUPID for backing a party that's against your own socio-economic interests. 8 yrs of Bush and all these problems... and you still think the republican way is the best way to go? WOW


    February 23, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. Obama - NOPE

    Does Obama know what the heck he is doing?

    February 23, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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