Majority of the public believes the 2009 auto industry bailout helped the economy, despite opposition

New poll shows public opinion on bailout tactics for industry.

Insurance NewsA new poll performed by Harris Interactive, has determined that the vast majority of the American public would not support any additional insurance, construction, banking, or auto industry bailouts, and that while only a small percentage of people think that the insurance and banking bailouts of 2008 helped the economy, the vast majority feel that the auto industry bailout of 2009 (especially of Chrysler and GM) did provide an economic boost.

The poll also indicated that a large number of people felt that there was no harm or benefit to the economy from any of these bailouts, or they simply were not sure.

The Harris Poll included the participation of 2,451 adults occurred from March 12 through March 19, and was conducted by Harris Interactive.

Shortly after 2009, when the auto industry bailouts had occurred, a previous Harris Poll had indicated that 51 percent of Americans were in favor of a construction industry bailout, but that 77 percent were against a bailout for the insurance industry, 65 percent were against those for banks, and 69 percent opposed those for auto manufacturers.

As with many other issues, the attitudes toward the various industry bailouts that occurred in 2008 and 2009 have a tendency to be defined by political leanings. For example, Republicans are far less likely to believe that the bailouts were a positive thing.

Among the individuals who felt that there was economic assistance by the bailouts:

• Of the auto industry, 59 percent were Democrats and 33 percent were Republicans;
• Of the banking industry, 31 percent were Democrats and 17 percent were Republicans;
• Of the insurance industry, 21 percent were Democrats and 9 percent were Republicans.

Independents were settled in the middle as 48 percent believed that the bailout of the auto industry boosted the economy, 22 percent felt that the bank bailout did so, and 14 percent thought that the insurance industry bailout was helpful.

The findings in this poll are likely to be used as a part of the congressional and presidential election campaigns, but it is likely that it will create a great deal of confusion among voters, as some of the bailouts had occurred under the Bush administration, while others came from the Obama administration.

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