|52% Say GM Somewhat Likely to Repay Taxpayers|
16/02/2011 05:26 (827 Day 18:33 minutes ago)
The FINANCIAL -- Just over half of Americans think General Motors and Chrysler may repay their taxpayer bailouts, but that doesn’t change the negative view of future bailouts.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of Adults think it is at least somewhat likely that all the taxpayer money invested in GM and Chrysler will be repaid. Forty-one percent (41%) say full repayment is unlikely. Those figures include 24% who say GM is Very Likely to fully re-pay the taxpayers and 12% who say it is Not At All Likely to do so.
These findings mark little change from November just after GM announced a $15.8 billion public stock offering that allowed the federal government to reduce its ownership stake in the company from 61% to 36%.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office still estimates that taxpayers will lose $19 billion as the result of the auto bailouts. Another bipartisan agency, the Congressional Oversight Panel, also recently concluded that “the fact that the government helped absorb the consequences of GM's and Chrysler's failures has put more competently managed automotive companies at a disadvantage.”
But also unchanged is the view Americans have of bailouts in general. Looking back, just 30% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the bailouts of banks, auto and insurance companies were good for the United States.
Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Americans now think it was a good idea to bail out GM and Chrysler. Nearly half (49%) think it was a bad idea. Last summer, 57% viewed the auto bailouts as bad. Then, amidst the hoopla surrounding the GM IPO last fall, the number viewing the auto bailouts in a negative light fell sharply to 46%.
Fifty-four percent (54%) of Democrats say it was a good idea for the federal government to provide bailout funding for GM and Chrysler. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Republicans and a plurality (48%) of adults not affiliated with either major party disagree.
Only 21% say they would look more favorably on future bailouts even if GM remains in business and fully repays its taxpayer bailout. Twenty-three percent (23%) say they would look less favorably on bailouts in the future, while 51% say their view of bailouts would be about the same.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of Americans are at least somewhat confident that GM will still be in business 10 years from now, with 32% who are Very Confident. Only 20% don’t share that confidence, including five percent (5%) who are Not At All Confident. This, too, is little changed from November.
If GM remains in business but never fully repays its taxpayer bailout, 60% also continue to believe it will be bad for the economy. Nineteen percent (19%) think failure to repay will be good for the economy, and 11% say it will have no impact.
Investors are more positive about the auto bailouts than non-investors and are also more confident that GM will repay all the taxpayer money it was given to stay in business. Interestingly, however, investors are slightly more wary of future bailouts than non-investors are.
Democrats and unaffiliateds tend to think the bailout money will be fully repaid, while most Republicans think otherwise. Those in the president’s party are nearly twice as likely as Republicans and unaffiliated adults to look more favorably on future bailouts if GM repays taxpayers.
While Americans clearly have reservations about bailouts in general, they are more positive about GM's business prospects. In January of last year, 45% expected the financially troubled Big Three automaker to come asking for more bailout help.
Just prior to the stock offering that allowed the government to cut its ownership stake in GM, 66% of Americans said the federal government should sell its majority ownership of the company to private investors as soon as possible.