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Opposition to fed auto bailouts falls


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Opposition to fed auto bailouts falls

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The public's opposition to the government's auto bailouts has fallen below 50 percent for the first time.

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey released today found that 46 percent of adults said it was bad idea for the federal government to bail out General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and their finance arms.

The same poll found 38 percent said the bailouts werea good idea, and 16 percent remain undecided.

Since President George W. Bush agreed to bail out GM and Chrysler and their finance arms with $25 billion in the final days of his presidency, voters have been consistently opposed to auto bailouts. As recently as July, 56 percent of Americans said they viewed the government loans as a bad idea. The poll of 1,000 people has a margin of error of three percentage points.

The results come as General Motors Co. has reported more than $4 billion in profits in the first nine months of the year and launched a successful initial public offering on Thursday.

Chrysler is launching a series of new or refreshed products and has made a net operating profit this year. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will visit a Chrysler transmission plant in Kokomo, Ind., on Tuesday to tout the recovery of the auto industry.

The news may explain why Americans say they optimistic that the taxpayer loans will be repaid. Fifty percent of those polled said it was very likely or somewhat likely that the government would be fully repaid, while 44 percent said it was not likely.

Seventy percent of Americans said they were confident that GM would still be in business a decade from now.

Most people who identified themselves as Republicans — 67 percent — said the auto bailouts were a bad idea, while 18 percent said they supported them.

Among Democrats, 62 percent said they supported the auto bailouts, while 25 percent opposed them.

Bush's recently released memoir defended the auto bailouts, saying he "had to safeguard American workers and families."

The former two-term president said his advisers warned "the immediate bankruptcy of the Big Three could cost more than a million jobs, decrease tax revenues by $150 billion and set back America's GDP by hundreds of billions of dollars."

In total, the U.S. government gave the auto industry an $85 billion bailout. The Treasury Department's most recent estimate is that taxpayers will lose $17 billion on the bailout.

The Canadian governments also loaned GM and Chrysler about $14 billion.

Obama has repeatedly noted the deep unpopularity of the bailouts, but defended it as the right decision to save more than 1 million jobs.

"The last thing folks wanted to see was us helping the auto industry," he said in September.

The survey of 1,000 Adults nationwide was conducted Nov.

18-19 — the day of GM's IPO and the following day.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20101122/AUTO01/11220400/Opposition-to-fed-auto-bailouts-falls#ixzz1632njjlP

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