Chrylser's likely bakruptcy filing today may inspire more hope than mourning among the American public, more than four in 10 of whom said bankruptcy would be a "good thing" for the ailing auto industry. Fewer, three in 10, said the move would be a positive for the economy overall.
Both measures, from a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted April 21-24, were a rare point of party unity in the survey. Differences along demographic and geographic lines were more pronounced.
Men are more apt than women to consider bankruptcy a good thing for the auto industry, and younger respondents are more likely to say it would have little effect or hurt the industry while older respondents were more likely to think the move a positive.
Views among residents of the states that are the traditional heart of the auto industry, the Midwest, are about on par with those in the country as a whole when it comes to potential impact on the auto industry. Nearly half in the West said the move would be a good thing for the industry, those in the Northeast were least likely to consider it a good move.
Considering the implicaitons for the broader economy, those in the Midwest and the West are more apt to say a bankruptcy among the Big Three would matter than those elsewhere, but are evenly split on whether it would be a positive or negative change.
Here's a look at how some key demographic groups viewed a potential bankruptcy among the Big Three:
Q. Changing topics, imagine if one or more of the big U.S. automakers filed for protection under bankruptcy laws while it reorganized its business structure. Do you think that would be a good thing or a bad thing for the auto industry in the long run, or would not make much difference either way?
Good Bad Not much thing thing difference All 43 21 31 Men 51 19 28 Women 36 24 34 18-29 33 25 40 30-64 47 21 28 65+ 41 19 29 East 38 22 36 Midwest 43 19 31 South 42 22 33 West 48 22 23 Democrat 37 21 38 Republican 43 24 24 Independent 47 22 28
Q. Do you think it would be a good thing or a bad thing for the U.S. economy overall, or would not make much difference either way?
Good Bad Not much thing thing difference All 30 27 38 Men 32 25 41 Women 28 29 35 18-29 29 27 42 30-64 31 29 35 65+ 28 20 43 East 29 23 43 Midwest 30 30 33 South 28 25 43 West 33 31 31 Democrat 30 27 39 Republican 30 30 36 Independent 31 27 38