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53% Say Bailouts Have Been Bad for the Country

Most voters still aren’t convinced that government bailouts have been a good idea.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 53% of Likely U.S. Voters think, looking back, that the bailouts of banks, auto companies and insurance companies were bad for the United States. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree and feel the bailouts were good for the country. Sixteen percent (16%) aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The gap between Mainstream voters and the Political Class remains striking. Two-out-of-three Mainstream voters (67%) say the bailouts were bad for the United States, while 60% of those in the Political Class say they were a good thing.

This is the first time that Rasmussen Reports has grouped all of the bailouts together in one question, but most voters have consistently from the start opposed the bailouts for the financial sector and General Motors and Chrysler when asked about them individually.

Opposition to the auto bailouts dropped to 46% in mid-November following GM’s $15.8-billion public stock offering which allowed the government to reduce its ownership stake in the company from 61% to 36%. It still appears unlikely, however, that either of the auto companies will ever fully repay the taxpayer bailouts they received.

Goldman-Sachs, one of the beneficiaries of a bailout, reported record quarterly earnings early last year, and while those earnings missed projections later in the year, the firm still appears quite healthy financially. Maybe that’s one reason why 81% of Americans think Wall Street benefited more than the average taxpayer from the bailouts of the financial industry.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on January 17-18, 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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