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54% Still See Bailouts As Bad for the Country

Voters are closely divided over the role they want the federal government to play in the current economy, but they remain positive that bailouts are one way they don’t want to go.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government bailouts of the auto industry and financial sector were bad for the country. Twenty-six percent (26%) think the bailouts were good for America, and 20% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here).

This is consistent with the level of voter opposition to bailouts for well over two years now.   Sixty percent (60%) say, looking back, that the bailout of banks and other financial institutions was a bad idea, and 74% believe Wall Street benefited more from the bailouts than the average taxpayer.  Fifty-one percent (51%) say the decision to bail out General Motors and Chrysler was a bad one.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of Republicans and 63% of voters not affiliated with either of the major parties view the bailouts as a bad idea. Democrats have been much more supportive of the bailouts from the start but are less enthusiastic about them than they were initially. Now voters in the president’s party think the bailouts were a good move by a narrower 45% to 29% margin. 

Forty-three percent (43%) of all voters worry that the government will do too much in reacting to the nation’s current economic problems.  Only slightly more (46%) fear that the government will not respond enough. 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 three months, however, there’s been a bit more concern that the government will not do enough: Last month, an all-time high of 49% felt that way.

(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 national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on October 14-15, 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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