Public Skeptical of Mortgage Bailout

Scott Rasmussen finds that by a 45%-38% margin, Americans oppose the Obama administration’s plan to subsidize people holding troubled mortgages. A review of the responses shows that there is no consensus as to what, if anything, should be done about mortgage foreclosures.

This continues a pattern in which the Obama administration’s economic measures–the “stimulus” bill, aid to the automakers–are unpopular with large numbers of Americans. At the same time, Obama consistently scores approval ratings around 60%. No doubt that level is suppressed somewhat by reservations about his economic policies, but it also shows that most Americans, as you would expect, are willing to give Obama a chance and see how his measures turn out.

Ronald Reagan said several decades ago that what it important is not whether a policy is popular, but rather whether the effects of that policy are popular. Many Americans had reservations about Reagan’s economic plans, too, but very few had any quarrel with the booming economy that resulted.

In Obama’s case, like Reagan’s, everything depends on the perceived success or failure of his economic plans. It may be that the inherent strength of America’s economy will shrug off the current problems and, a year or so from now, Obama will be able to take credit for a recovering (maybe booming) economy, regardless of whether his programs actually contributed to, or hampered, the recovery.

At the moment, though, that optimistic scenario isn’t looking too likely. The economy will recover eventually, of course, but the huge deficits, inflation, tax increases and reports of wasted or corrupt “stimulus” spending that are destined to flow from Obama’s policies likely will taint the public’s perception of the administration’s role in the inevitable recovery–especially given the skepticism with which a great many Americans already view the administration’s programs.

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