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Poll: Auto Bailout Wrong Way

Most Americans oppose the revised plan the Big Three pitched last week in Washington, putting the Congress and the president and the president-elect on the wrong side of public opinion on the matter, at least in the short-run.

In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 54 percent said they oppose the bailout request of up to 34 billion dollars in government loans; 37 percent backed the plan. Support for the plan was little changed from late November, with the percentage of those "strongly opposed" outnumbering the plan's strong proponents.

Deep partisan and regional differences also remain.

Democrats are about evenly divided on the auto company loans (42 percent support, 47 percent oppose), while sizable majorities of Republicans (57 percent) and independents (55 percent) lined up against the idea.

Support for government infusion peaks in the Midwest, home to much of the affected manufacturing base (44 percent support, 48 percent oppose), but meets stiffer opposition elsewhere - 57 percent of those in the Northeast disapprove of the funds as do 56 percent of southerners and 52 percent in the West.

And the younger consumers American automakers need to woo are less supportive of the bailout plan than their elders. Among seniors, views are evenly split (45 percent favor, 44 percent oppose), but among those under age 45 a broad majority opposes the plan (59 percent).

Despite the negative public response, electoral judgment is two years off, and other data point to the broad consequences of inaction. In a CNN poll conducted last week, 15 percent of all respondents said their families would be immediately affected if the auto companies went bankrupt. And while opposition to the federal assistance was also steep in the CNN poll, 45 percent said the plan would boost the economy, issue No. 1 in Washington, Detroit and on the proverbial Main Street.

Q. The big three automakers in the U.S. have asked for up to $34 billion in loans from the government. Some people say it's a bailout those companies don't deserve, and that they'd be better off reorganizing under bankruptcy laws. Other people say it's necessary to protect auto workers and save a key part of the U.S. economy. On balance, do you support or oppose this plan?


SOURCE: Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Dec. 3-7 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

By Jon Cohen  |  December 8, 2008; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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Bank of America and Mr. Higgins missing $millions, It can happen to you, my fellow Americans

More info:

Posted by: srmaxhiggins | December 13, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

If the auto workers are not willing to help then there is no way the rest of American's should help. Why should someone making $8 bucks a hour feel sorry for someone making over $70 PLUS benefits???
If they are unwilling to come down and join the rest of American's then let them stay up there because when they fall it is gonna be a hard landing.
So let the UAW take care of them, not the rest of us that live on $8 MINUS benefits.
This is one reason American's have lost jobs...being greedy....

Posted by: djmiller1 | December 14, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

LOANS TO THE AUTO COMPANIES MUST BE MADE TO KEEP HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FLOWING INTO OUR ECONOMY. These loans must be conditioned on new business plans that fit our economy today. The unions must cooperate and cut back on benefits and pay to match those of the foreign competition making automobiles in the South.
The Executive must sacrifice their bonuses and other perks down the line. Hard cuts must be presented and built in.
Bankruptcy is not the end of the road as Delta proved, but car sales would have to be protected by legislation guaranteeing warranties and parts and service.

Posted by: mharwick | December 15, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Loan the money to the American car buying public. put them in charge of the car industry and let the market decide who gets to stay in business and who doesn't.

If we can keep people who can't pay mortgages or don't want to in their houses; we can finance cars and trucks for them as well.

Posted by: poppadata | December 15, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The problem I have with the Auto Nation Bailout plan is mostly around the idea of rewarding a company like GM for making such collosal mistakes, and their long-standing lobbying efforts.

For many years, GM has declared "the market decides what kind of cars we will build to satisfy our customers". Meanwhile, their market share was shrinking while Japanese car makers actually delivered economical cars. GM seems to be tone deaf to what customers want.

For many years, americans have been encouraged to conserve energy, water, etc. California, for instance, has been strong on public education. When California implemented tough fuel economy standards, GM hired a lobbyist and lawyer to fight California. GM seems to be tone deaf to what customers want.

GM recently unveiled a new Escalade with a HYBRID power train. The new Excalade is a huge car, and is exempt from federal EPA ratings because it is a truck. Congress decided to fudge the EPA fuel ratings for trucks, and encouraged business owners to buy these huge SUVs with a tax credit. Congress seems to be tone deaf to what customers want.

We are told that we are "addicted to oil", but nothing is done to reduce the appetite for using more. And now the AUTO NATION BAILOUT seems to be maintaining the status quo for GM.

Posted by: rmorris391 | December 15, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The problem that I have with the bailout is that the American car manufacturing companies have had over 30 years warning that this was going to happen. They have refused to be innovative and give American consumers what they are looking for in a car. The CEO's of these companies are responsible for this crisis. They should receive nothing until they submit their plan for reform to the government before they are given one penny. As for the amount of money Union workers make versus what non union workers make. Unions protect the rights of the employees and ensure a living wage. Unfortunately they are becoming a thing of the past. We can thank companies like Walmart and big business who have opposed supporting Unions so they can get away with paying their employees $8.00 an hour.

Posted by: vikinglover71 | December 15, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

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