Poll: Voters Think TARP Passed Under Obama

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 11 2010 9:28 AM

Poll: Voters Think TARP Passed Under Obama

I expect Democrats to react with a combination of teeth-gnashing and head-in-hands-depression to this news , from Pew:

Only a third of Americans (34%) correctly say the Troubled Asset ReliefProgram (TARP) was enacted by the Bush administration. Nearly half(47%) incorrectly believe TARP was passed under President Obama.Another 19% admit they do not know which president signed the bankbailout into law. Notably, there is no partisan divide on the question.


Shines a light on what tea partyers mean when they say it was TARP that got them into the streets, doesn't it? Those 47 percent TARP Truthers* have something of a point, because candidate Obama voted for TARP, and his economic team continued the policy. (I am fascinated by the progressive, Krugmanian counter-argument that Obama's policies would have been more popular, the "socialism" charge levied less, if he just nationalized the banks.) But here's a reminder that voters don't really know why they're so angry. If a pollster asked people to differentiate between TARP, which shoveled money to banks that we'll get back (perhaps), and the stimulus, which shoveled money to states and taxpayers (sort of), I bet he'd find a complete muddle.

Hat tip: Jonathan Martin.

*I'm kidding, mostly, with this label.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


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