Public support for government loans to major U.S. automakers has increased sharply since 2009. A February poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 56% of people say the loans made to GM and Chrysler were mostly good for the economy; 38% say the loans were mostly bad.

In 2009, just 37% of people said the loans were mostly good for the economy, while 54% viewed them negatively. Republicans remain more skeptical than Democrats about the impact of the loans, though Republican support has nearly doubled since 2009 — from 23% then to 44% today.

A majority of Americans (55%) say the auto industry has a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, while just 29% view its impact as negative. By comparison, far more people say the auto industry is having a positive impact than say so about large corporations, banks or financial institutions. However, the auto industry is not viewed as positively as small businesses or technology companies. Read More

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