New Poll Finds 58 Percent of Union Members Oppose Big Three Bailout

December 15, 2008

Contributed by Peyton Knight

Washington, D.C. - As Congress mulls whether or not to spend anywhere from $15 to $34 billion in taxpayer money to bailout Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, a new ATI-News/Zogby poll shows a clear majority of Americans, including union employees, oppose such a bailout.

The poll, which was conducted Nov. 25 through Dec.1 and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus two percentage points, asked likely voters:

"Congress is considering using tax dollars to give a total of $25 billion to the Big Three U.S. auto manufacturers, Ford, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler, in order to keep the companies solvent.  Some believe they should go into bankruptcy so they can restructure to produce few models, have less dealers, allow them to close unnecessary manufacturing facilities, and have investors demand management changes and reduced benefits for all employees.  Do you think Congress should approve or deny a bailout for the Big Three?"

Surprisingly, 57.5 percent of self-declared union members think Congress should deny the Big Three a taxpayer-funded bailout, while only 29.5 percent of union members approve of such a bailout (13 percent are not sure).  Democrats are roughly split on the issue, as 43 percent approve of a bailout, and 41 percent disapprove (16 percent are not sure).

Overall, the poll found that 61.7 percent of American voters are opposed to a bailout for the automakers, and only 25.7 percent approve of a bailout (12.5 percent are not sure).

"On this issue, common sense seems to be a shared trait across all segments of the voting public," said ATI-News president Brad O'Leary.  "Americans don't like the idea of Congress loading billions of their hard-earned tax dollars onto a sinking ship."

"At the rate the Big Three are burning through cash, this bailout would do nothing but buy them just a few months of time and remove any incentive for them to restructure and reform their companies," said O'Leary.  "It would only foster dependency and create incentive for Congress to deliver them future multibillion-dollar government handouts."

A second question in the poll asked:  "If General Motors files for bankruptcy instead of receiving a government rescue, would you favor or oppose spending $1 billion of previously approved bailout money to fund the federal program that guarantees pensions for auto workers affected by the bankruptcy, so their pensions would be guaranteed up to $40,000 a year?"

A majority of likely voters (54 percent) say they would favor this plan to guarantee worker pensions in the event GM files for bankruptcy, while only 33 percent say they oppose such a plan (13 percent are not sure).

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