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Bailout rewards bad behavior - poll

Eight out of ten say the economy could deteriorate further if government action is not taken, according to poll, but similar percent also worry bailout rewards bad behavior.

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By Kenneth Musante, CNNMoney.com staff writer

What should Congress do with the $700 billion proposal to take pressure off the credit markets?
  • Pass the legislation quickly
  • Pass it, but add stimulus and foreclosure relief
  • Reject it

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- As the White House and Congress hammer out the details of a rescue plan for embattled financial institutions, Americans worry that it may reward bad behavior but they also fear that doing nothing may hurt the economy, according to a poll released Tuesday.

In a CNN/Opinion Research poll, 79% of 1,020 respondents said they were worried that the economy could get worse if the government takes no action.

However, 77% also said they believed that a government bail-out would benefit those responsible for the economic downturn in the first place. The poll was taken on Sept. 19-21 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The Bush administration, under the guidance of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, has proposed that the federal government buy up approximately $700 billion in problematic assets from financial institutions in order to give them the liquidity they need to stay afloat.

Democratic lawmakers have pushed for a number of additions to the bill, including additional oversight, protections for homeowners and caps on executive compensation.

According to the CNN poll, fully half of respondents said there is too little regulation of the stock market and financial institutions.

The two presidential candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain have also said there needs to be more government oversight of the bailout plan.

Through it all, Americans remain optimistic. While a great majority said they believed the economy was struggling, according to the poll, more than two-thirds said they thought the economy would be in good shape a year from now. To top of page

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