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

Poll: Let carmakers go bankrupt, say Americans

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/09/art.getty.cars.jpg caption=" 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. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Oooo. Nasty poll results. Payback for all those crapy cars they have been selling us for all these years...

    Fix Or Repair Daily
    Awful Miserable Cars
    Jesus Chrysler!

    April 9, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. Bob in Pa

    Reorganization might be a good thing.

    April 9, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. rebekah

    What a bunch of asses! I may feel that way about some of those on Wal Street as well..you'll be thinking sink or swim when Americans start becoming increasingly desperate for work, health care ect... it is all of our responsibility to help one another!!! HELLO...who was he and what did JESUS DO!!! Americans have become disgusting to each other...

    April 9, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  4. jim Scheinle, Santa Fe, NM

    So the pollsters ask mostly half educated persons how a GM/CHRYSLER bankruptcy will affect the US economy ??

    And also ask the enthusiast of foreign cars if these company should disappear ??

    I really am surprised of the lack of patriotism of the US population. The consumers of any other car manufacturing industrial nation, beginning with JAPAN and KOREA, where 95% would never buy an foreign car even if its vastly superior and ending with Germany, France and Italy, which would generally not buy a foreign car if a even slightly inferior local one is available, much less a non-european one.

    But the American consumer , arguing that the US cars are inferior (which was true about 20 years ago, but today is totally false) buy imports, even if in many cases, considering the relation price/what you get, is often vastly inferior and in the best case, equivalent.

    Of course: who considers that a collapse of the US industrial base, just in middle of the recession, pushing at least over a million consumers to the street, which in turn would generate further millions, is a fair price to pay for the "right" of the US population to buy Japanese, Korean and German cars, should do so !!! Possibly he or she expects to get a good resale price after becoming unemployed !!!

    April 9, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Jer

    Obama didn't invent the phrase "Never waste a good crisis!" That was coined by Rumsfeld, W. and Darth Cheney on September 12, 2001.

    Let economic Darwinism do its thing. The companies that last will be stronger for it.

    April 9, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  6. rodlang

    Folks, GM is going to file for bankruptcy...they have no choice. GM has been in financial trouble for years, this was inevitable. Sad but it's going to happen.

    April 9, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. JJ

    So the Feds guarantee the warranty, but what if there are no parts available? Will you have any recourse if your car sits in the shop for three months waiting for a second hand part to appear at a local junk yard after a wreck? It's easy to say let them fail, but many companies and people will be affected who do not work directly for the manufacturer.

    April 9, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Ilene

    I can't and won't believe that so many Americans want to turn over another part of the USA to foreign countries. Must be all the people that voted for Bush 4 and 8 years ago.
    The auto companies are not poorly run and only suffering because no one can afford to buy a car. They will bounce back. Shame on any person that wants them to fail. That is just plain ignorance.

    April 9, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Kathy

    Let them fail. Maybe they will ditch the unions and stop overpaying their execs. then maybe they could make a profit.

    April 9, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Tom Wittmann, Bernalillio, NM

    I support 100% what my friend in Santa FE states:

    The US consumer lacks the most elemental patriotism. Nobody would object that he prefers a foreign brand
    if its financially, economically and technically superior, but very much so if the localproduct is equivalent or superior. And much more so, if certain
    persons and entities, motivated by their bitter feelings and the latter sometimes because of other "incentives", continuously try to demonize the US industry.

    April 9, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. ray ray

    @ Rebeka asks,

    "what did JESUS DO!!!"


    He'd walk or bum a ride with one of his disciples!

    Geez you liberal idiots always try to bring Jesus into your political ideology... yet you're the FIRST to tell everyone else that killing an unborn child is a "choice". Right?

    April 9, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Ditto to "We (or Us?) The People"!

    April 9, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. Mel

    Let them fail. They aren't failing because of the economy, they're failing because of the economy AND because their products suck. Thats business.

    April 9, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Franky

    "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."

    Bingo guys and what's big word used here? December, let me repeat that to you...De-cem-ber! Want me to spell it? LOL!!

    Now why in December they would prefer one? Can you explain your analysis to me or you want mine? I'll do it for you, I'll go back in the archives, I have no problem, LOL!!

    April 9, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. Patriotic Toyota Owner

    AMEN!!!! Let them go broke.

    April 9, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  16. Purchasing Patriotism

    I agree buying Japanese cars and Korean cars is one of the reasons we are where we are today, and yes, it is your right to buy a Japanese car or German, but be aware when you do who have played a large part in the decline of America's manufacturing base and turning the U.S. into a "service industry" world. Three quarters of the money you spend goes to countries overseas to help their economies and at the expense of our economy.

    One of the most ironic bumper stickers I have ever seen was after 9/11.

    It stated "We will Never Forget!" It was pasted on the bumper of a Toyota Camry a car from Japan, the only country that has ever attacked us on American soil.

    So, obviously we do forget!

    April 9, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. Veronica

    How sad. This will have a devestating ripple effect on all areas of the country, from car dealerships, to auto supply outlets, to main street. While I certainly do not condone what Detroit's done to end up in this mess, I'm going to hate like hell to see, literally, millions lose their jobs. If any industry should have been allowed to go bankrupt, it should have been Wall Street.

    I guess the saying is true, people care more for those who shower before work, than those who shower after work.

    April 9, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Jim

    Why do you suppose the foreign automakers in this country pay their employees 22 dollars per hour plus benifits? Its simple, they try their best to keep out unions. If the unions fail, the people in those factories will begin to get wages of 8 dollars per hour and no benefits.
    The anti union people on this blog will also make less money and by reading most of your jealous anger, I would have to say if that happens we will be paying less for a Big Mack!

    April 9, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Wade

    Jimmy Boy April 9th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

    Workers, don't worry. The void created by these poorly run companies will be filled by new and compentent companies. It's not like the void will just sit there. People who know how to do REAL business will take advantage of this opportunity.
    Tell that to all the US steel workers that are still unemployed from when their companies went bankrupt.

    A void in an industry does not necessarily get filled where it was created. It will be outsourced like everything else in America.

    I'm sure another manufacturer will attempt to fill the gap on the supply side, but I doubt they would setup shop in the US, let alone bring in the UAW or any of its workers.

    April 9, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    If GM files Chapter 11 – all of the 600,000 retired employees will lose his or her retirement pension and health insurance. If this happens then the Government will have to provide medicaid and some form of income for all those under the age of 65. I found the individuals answering this poll to be uninformed about the down fall if GM files Chapter 11 and that also bankruptcy is controlled by the Federal Government – so they will not leave this many individuals out in the cold.

    April 9, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  21. Kay

    If you think the economy's bad now, wait until GM and Chrysler go bankrupt.

    They'll be counting monthly job losses in millions, not hundred thousands.

    Get ready.

    April 9, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  22. lulu

    GM fire the unions, they are nothing but troublemakers. You do not need them. Use your own heads. You overpay employees because of the union.

    April 9, 2009 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. Nola

    If GM files Chapter 11 more than 600,000 retired employes will lose his or her retirement pension and health care. Do we want this many individuals to be add too the already large number of uninsured people in this country?

    April 9, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. brenda

    People, do you not realize the damage this would do. It would not only have an impact on the employees, but every aspect of their neighborhoods. Small businesses (delicatessans, small stores, any type of business the workers support) and their suppliers would find a decrease in their business, resulting in more problems for the economy. There was an article recently about a porta-potty business that had to lay off half of its workforce due to a decline in business from his customers. Most people do not consider the trickle down consequences of letting a major company fail. Think about it.

    April 9, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Tony

    Hear! Hear! I couldn't agree more.

    April 9, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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