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Bailouts Remain Popular With Just 25% of Voters

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Despite General Motors' seemingly improved financial picture and Chrysler's hopes to repay the government by next month, voters remain convinced that the bailouts of the big automakers were a mistake. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that, looking back, only 25% of Likely U.S. Voters think the federal bailouts of banks, auto companies and insurance companies were good for the United States. Fifty-six percent (56%) believe the bailouts were bad for the country, while another 18% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Those findings are virtually identical to last month's and are consistent with the level of opposition since the first bailout was under discussion in September 2008.  Since then, voters have consistently opposed the bailouts for both the financial sector and the auto industry. 

Voters remain worried, too, that the government will again overreach in trying to address the nation's bad economy. A plurality (45%) of voters are concerned that the government will do too much in reacting to the nation’s current economic problems. Almost as many (42%), however, are worried the government will not do enough.  Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

This marks little change from last month but is a narrower gap than was found in March when 47% were concerned the government would do too much and 39% were concerned it would do too little.  The general sentiment that the government will do too much in response to economic problems is in line with findings since November 2008 just after Barack Obama’s election and the Wall Street meltdown, but the narrowness of the recent findings may be a reflection of concern about the nation's lingering economic woes. In September 2008, just after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, 63% of voters feared the government would do too much in reacting to the nation’s economic woes versus 25% who worried it would not do enough.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on May 7, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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