The Bad Rap on the Bailout Bill

  • October 01, 2008
  • By Andrew Kohut

The American public is taking a bad rap for Congress's failure to pass the bailout bill. Members who voted against the original House bill are said to be responding to strong opposition to the rescue plan from their constituents. While there is little doubt that Congressional representatives are hearing a lot of harsh words from voters back home, that clamor does not reflect broad American public opinion. It is a classic case of the squeaky wheels getting first attention at a time when Washington is in a quandary about what to do.

The most recent polls -- those conducted through Monday night -- show the public is at best divided over the plan. There is little indication of overwhelming public rejection of the bailout proposal. A new Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 27-29 found support for the bailout slipping, but still showed a narrow 45%-38% plurality of the public saying that a government plan to invest or commit billions of dollars to secure financial institutions is the right thing to do.

Read the full commentary The Bad Rap on the Bailout Bill on the Pew Research Center Web site.