Public Still Peeved at Auto Industry

NEW YORK The latest development in automakers’ “can this industry be saved” saga — the dismissal of General Motors’ chief executive — has not left public opinion favoring a further bailout or confident in the companies’ survival.

In a Rasmussen Reports poll conducted earlier this week, just 23 percent of respondents favored additional federal loans to GM and Chrysler, while 62 percent were opposed, with the rest unsure. Nor is there a consensus favoring a proposal to take some of the sting out of automaker bankruptcy by having the feds guarantee their warranties. While 44 percent of respondents were in favor of such a step, 42 percent were opposed.

These attitudes reflect a diminished sense that the auto industry remains crucial to the U.S. economy in general. One question in the poll asked, “If General Motors goes out of business, is it still possible for the economy to recover?” Nine percent answered “no,” vs. 76 percent saying “yes” and the rest declining to respond. More broadly, 32 percent agreed that the U.S. auto industry is very important to the “financial stability of the overall economy” — down from 49 percent saying the same two years ago.

Elsewhere in the poll, 19 percent of respondents said it’s “very likely” that GM or Chrysler will go out of business “over the next few years,” up four percentage points from the number saying so six weeks ago. Another 40 percent said this is “somewhat likely” to happen.

Publish date: April 2, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT