- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A majority of Americans are opposed to the federal government helping out banks that made bad loans or homeowners who borrowed more than they could afford, a Fox 5/The Washington Times/Rasmussen poll reported yesterday.

Despite moves by the Federal Reserve Board and other federal agencies to provide cash, low interest, short-term loans and other assistance to investment banks and a troubled mortgage industry, Americans opposed such actions 61 percent to 15 percent, the survey found. Another 23 percent were undecided on the issue.

The poll also found that Americans — 53 percent to 29 percent — were opposed to helping out people who bought homes they could not afford. The issue left 17 percent undecided.

Sharp differences about the topics were found between men and women, and whites and blacks.

On whether the government should help out credit-strapped financial institutions, 70 percent of men were opposed, compared with 53 percent of women, while 64 percent of whites were opposed compared with 45 percent of blacks.

Incomes also influenced responses, with opposition strongest among higher-income Americans. The survey found 53 percent of Americans earning less than $20,000 opposed any help for ailing banks, compared with 70 percent opposition among people making more than $100,000.

Similarly, lower-income Americans were much less likely to oppose helping homeowners avoid foreclosures than were upper-income people.

The survey found that 36 percent of those who earned under $20,000 were against helping homeowners who got in over their heads versus 70 percent of people whose incomes were over $100,000.

But 44 percent of people making under $20,000 said they favored government assistance compared with only 15 percent of those earning over $100,000.

The poll also found that 56 percent said controversial remarks by prominent campaign advisers to the presidential candidates “did not influence their vote for or against that candidate,” though 26 percent said it did.

When asked who had more impact on the economy’s health, private business drew 31 percent of the responses while Congress came in at 28 percent. The president, Federal Reserve and “not sure” each drew 14 percent.

If the presidential election were held today, 37 percent said they would definitely vote Democratic, 22 percent said definitely Republican, 8 percent probably Democratic, and 22 percent probably Republican, with the rest undecided.

The poll has a margin of error of 3 percent.

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