Americans are split of the effectiveness of the much maligned loans provided by federal government to assist troubled banks to prevent further financial problems. A plurality of Americans (49%) say that the loan program, known as TARP, did not help prevent a more severe economic crisis. Slightly fewer (42%) say TARP did its job. A majority of Democrats (54%) say the federal loans assisted in warding off a larger crisis. Only 35% of Republicans and 37% of independents agree, however. Majorities of both say TARP did not prevent further financial disaster. Better educated and more affluent people are more likely to say the loan program did help prevent a more severe economic crisis. For instance, a majority of college graduates (56%) say TARP helped prevent a more severe economic crisis, while just a third of Americans with a high school degree or less (34%) agree. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.