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  Home > Housing > Housing News > New Poll Finds Americans Skeptical Over Proposals to Rescue Subprime Borrowers

New Poll Finds Americans Skeptical Over Proposals to Rescue Subprime Borrowers

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 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ - As the Bush administration
 huddles with major lenders to finalize a relief plan for subprime
 borrowers, new results today from a survey conducted by Harris
 Interactive(R) on behalf of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) warn against
 the government going too far. Almost half (48%) of U.S. adults aged 18 and
 older think a federal bailout of the subprime market would help either
 lenders who issue subprime mortgages or Wall Street banks who profit from
 subprime mortgages; in contrast, roughly a quarter (26%) believe homeowners
 who hold subprime mortgages would benefit most.
 "When it comes to rescuing the subprime mortgage market, Americans are
 skeptical not only of who will benefit, but who will be left holding the
 bag," said NTU Vice President for Policy & Communications Pete Sepp. "While
 other surveys have shown serious public concerns over rising mortgage
 defaults, this poll demonstrates Americans have equally serious
 reservations over government involvement in the solution."
 From the S&L crisis of the 1980s through the recent scandals at Fannie
 Mae and Freddie Mac, NTU has opposed government schemes that would put
 taxpayers on the hook for financial institutions' missteps. Recently
 Congress and the Bush administration have crafted proposals to ease
 subprime woes, such as allowing the federal government to buy shaky loans
 and creating a "superfund" that states could use to bail out borrowers or
 lenders. NTU, which opposes such radical steps, commissioned the survey in
 order to gauge public attitudes toward subprime rescue packages. Among the
 -- When asked which statement most closely reflects their views on plans
 allowing federal agencies to "increase the size of the loans they can
 insure and purchase, and to reduce down-payment requirements," 66% of
 respondents agreed that "these proposals are nothing more than a
 taxpayer-funded bailout of banks and lenders that provided and profited
 from these risky loans." Thirty-four percent believed "a taxpayer-
 backed refinance program is necessary to avoid an increase in
 foreclosures that could reduce home values across the country."
 -- Sixty percent of respondents said taxpayers would be most negatively
 affected if the government were to "bail out the subprime mortgage
 market." Much smaller numbers felt that "homeowners who hold subprime
 mortgages" (5%), "lenders who issue subprime mortgages" (5%), or "Wall
 Street banks who profit from subprime mortgages" (5%) would be most
 negatively affected.
 -- When asked who would benefit most from a bailout, 30% of respondents
 identified lenders who issue subprime mortgages, 18% said Wall Street
 banks who profit from subprime mortgages, while just 26% cited
 homeowners as the main beneficiaries.
 -- Participants were then asked about proposals for taxpayer funding "to
 subsidize mortgage payments, or subsidize the cost of refinancing
 subprime loans." Forty-five percent indicated they strongly or somewhat
 opposed such a plan, while only 29% indicated they strongly/somewhat
 supported it, and 12% indicated they didn't know or were not sure.
 "The low levels of trust in government reported in other polls, along
 with the results of our poll, seem to suggest that policymakers may want to
 minimize the government's role in any rescue packages being crafted with
 the lending industry," Sepp concluded.
 Harris Interactive(R) fielded the study on behalf of the National
 Taxpayers Union from November 26-28, 2007 via its QuickQuery(SM) online
 omnibus service among 2,058 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. No
 estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Note: a full
 methodology,* along with a graphic presentation of the poll results, is
 available at or
 *Harris Interactive fielded the study on behalf of the National
 Taxpayers Union from November 26-28, 2007 via its QuickQuery(SM) online
 omnibus service among 2,058 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. Figures
 for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were
 weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual
 proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to
 adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
 All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability
 sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not
 possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error,
 error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording
 and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore,
 Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are
 misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling
 errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples
 with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published
 polls come close to this ideal.
 Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have
 agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been
 weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because
 the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the
 Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical
 sampling error can be calculated.

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