Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Majority Says Auto Bailout Was Mostly Good for Economy

In a survey earlier this year, a majority of Americans (56%) said the government loans made to GM and Chrysler in the midst of the financial crisis were mostly good for the economy, while 38% said they were mostly bad. In October 2009, almost a year after the loans were announced, public opinion was reversed: Just 37% said the loans were good, while 54% said they were bad.

Views of the auto bailout have grown more positive among nearly all groups. In February 2012, Republicans were essentially divided over the auto loans (44% mostly good for the economy, 52% mostly bad). In 2009, 70% of Republicans thought they had a negative effect on the economy while just 23% said they were mostly good for the economy.

Independents also had negative perceptions of the auto loans in 2009 (33% mostly good, 59% mostly bad), but opinions earlier this year were more positive than negative (54% vs. 40%). And while about half of Democrats (53%) said the loans were good for the economy in 2009, that number had risen to 72% this February.

Opinion about the loans to General Motors and Chrysler were particularly positive in the Northeast and Midwest in the 2012 survey. About two-thirds of Northeasterners (66%) and 61% of Midwesterners said they had been good for the economy, compared with 53% of Southerners and 48% of Westerners. Read More