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Majority Think Government Should Help Only Those Who Can Afford Their Mortgages

The debate over the federal government's role in the home mortgage market remains a stalemate even as taxpayers continue to provide billions of dollars to keep government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in business. At issue is whether the duo should continue to make low-cost subprime mortgages available to those who can't necessarily afford them. Already, their losses on such mortgages are conservatively estimated at at least $300 billion.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 26% of Americans think the government should be primarily concerned with making it possible for more people to own a home as opposed to making sure that the only people who can get mortgages are those who can afford them. Sixty-three percent (63%) disagree and say the government's primary concern should be limiting mortgages to those who can pay them back. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Not surprisingly, adults ages 18 to 29 feel more strongly than their elders than the government should focus on helping more people own a home. Those who earn less than $20,000 a year are far more likely to agree than those who make more.

Most homeowners continue to show little optimism that the housing market will turn around in the next year but are more hopeful than they have been in several months that things will get better in the long term. 

(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 Adults nationwide was conducted on January 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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