Poll: Americans Split On Big 3 Bailout

generic bailout capitol congress gar auto automobile car prices CBS/iStockphoto

While a majority of Americans believe that bankruptcy for U.S. automakers would have a major impact on the economy, they are evenly split about the prospect of government financial assistance for the big three, a new CBS News poll finds.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed approve of government assistance for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, while nearly as many - 44 percent - disapprove.

There is more consensus when it comes to the conditions of any bailout. More than two in three say that if taxpayers do help automakers, the government should have a say in how the companies are managed.

That could have something to do with whom Americans blame for automakers' current problems: While 28 percent say the companies' struggles are due to conditions beyond their control, a far greater percentage - 56 percent - blame management decisions.

Read The Complete Poll
And asked if the government should require U.S. automakers to produce more alternative-fuel cars in exchange for assistance, 66 percent said yes.

Despite the divided views on assisting automakers, fifty-five percent predict there would be a major impact on the economy if the companies go out of business. Thirty-five percent say there would be a minor impact, while eight percent say there would be little or no impact.

The automakers' economic struggles may be having a negative impact on their sales. Thirty-one percent of those surveyed say the companies' economic problems make them less likely to purchase a car from U.S. automakers.

Only 11 percent of those surveyed say the companies' economic struggles make them more likely to buy cars from the automakers. Fifty-five percent say it makes no difference.


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,098 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone December 4-7, 2008. Phone numbers were dialed from RDD samples of both standard land-lines and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

Popular on CBS News

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download