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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 04/30/2009

Auto Bankruptcy: The Demographic Divisions

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

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  12:11 PM ET, 04/30/2009

Categories:  Crosstabs, Crosstabs

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