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59% Say Government Bailouts Were Bad For America

Thursday, November 17, 2011

More voters than ever look back negatively on the government bailouts of banks, auto companies and insurance companies. They remain divided as to what role they’d like the government to play in the struggling economy.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. voters shows that 59% believe the government bailouts of the auto industry and financial sector were bad for the country. Twenty-five percent (25%) think the bailouts were good for America, and 15% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Voters have expressed opposition to the bailouts for well over two years, but this is the highest level measured since Rasmussen Reports began tracking voter reaction to all bailouts of the auto and financial industries.

Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans and 60% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties view the bailouts as a bad idea. Democrats were much more supportive of the bailouts from the start but are now split: 41% say they were a bad idea while 39% view them as a good idea.

This data comes as confidence among Americans in the stability of the nation’s banking industry has fallen to a new low. 

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters fear that the government will not do enough in reacting to the nation’s current economic problems. Forty-three percent (43%) worry that the government will do too much. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided.

From September 2008 through June of this year, voters generally were more concerned that the government would do too much in response to the bad economy. For the last four months, however, there’s been a bit more concern that the government will not do enough: this finding reached its highest level in September at 49%.

One area where voters would like to see action is on the debt reduction front, but only 19% believe the Super Committee is even somewhat likely to produce a plan for accomplishing that goal. Most voters believe that cutting government spending is good for the economy.

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The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on November 13-14, 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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