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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Auto Bailout and the Silliness of Polls

The latest polling says that most Americans approve of the bailout of the automakers.

new national poll suggests that a majority of Americans approve of recent loans to the big U.S. automakers, but fewer than three in ten would support any additional assistance if the domestic auto industry asked for such help.

Sixty-three percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey support the roughly $13 billion loan package the White House is extending to American automakers to prevent them from going into bankruptcy, with 37 percent opposing the move.

Buried within the polling is more data that shows just how absurd this poll is.

But if the auto companies should ask for more taxpayer assistance, the poll indicates that public opinion changes dramatically. Only 28 percent would approve of providing the automakers more money, with 70 percent saying let them go bankrupt.

Of course, it is a given that the automakers will need more funding. As such, what we have is either a confused electorate or bad pollsters. If 63% approve of the bailout but only 28% would approve of more, then in fact, only 28% approve of the bailout.

Everyone involved with putting the bailout funds together did it with the understanding that this was nothing more than a so called bridge loan. Thus, there WILL be more funding. In fact, in order to survive long term, these three will likely need somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion eventually. Yet, the public seems to be totally for the bailout. They are against anymore funding even though this bailout will lead directly to a bigger bailout. As such, the real story here is not that the public is in favor of this bailout. They aren't. The real story is the utter absurdity of this poll, and the even more absurd lack of understanding of the public at large.

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