Donald Trump’s first major action as president-elect -- the deal he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence struck last week with Carrier Corp. -- is earning high marks from American voters, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows.By contrast:
... Sixty percent of voters say Carrier’s decision to keep some manufacturing jobs in Indiana ... gives them a more favorable view of Trump. That includes not only 87 percent of self-identified Republicans, but also 54 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats.
Only 9 percent say it makes them view Trump less favorably, while 22 percent say it doesn’t have an impact either way.
In 2012, just 46% of Americans supported the auto bailout.— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) December 6, 2016
In 2016, 60% support the Carrier factory deal. https://t.co/EMa02z7NpJ
Why the difference?
First, some Democrats are willing to give Trump credit for the deal. In the Politico poll, you see that 40% of Democrats say the Carrier deal makes them more favorably disposed to Trump.
By contrast, Republicans would never give President Obama credit for anything. In the 2012 Gallup poll cited by Luntz and The Hill above, only 25% of Republicans favored the rescue of the auto industry.
Beyond that, please note the way the auto rescue was framed. It was regularly called a "bailout" -- and the word "bailout" probably reminded voters of the bailout of the financial industry, which infuriated many of them. In that Gallup poll the question was:
Now, thinking back to one of the major actions taken by the federal government in the last four years, would you say you approve or disapprove of the financial bailout for U.S. automakers that were in danger of failing?It was also seen as a giveaway to the industry, even though most of the money involved was in the form of loans. So in CNN polling, which showed that the rescue was unpopular in 2010, 2012, and 2014, the question was:
Looking back, do you think the federal government should have provided financial help in 2009 to U.S. automakers who were in financial trouble, or should these companies have been allowed to succeed or fail on their own?But in a 2012 Pew poll, the rescue was popular -- 56% of respondents thought it was good for the economy and only 38% didn't. Why? Maybe because Pew's question referred to loans.
The government also gave loans to General Motors and Chrysler during this period. Do you think this was mostly good or mostly bad for the economy?The Republican narrative throughout the Obama years was that the president spent money with no sense of responsibility. That became the story much of heartland America believed. In the case of the Carrier deal, the opposition party isn't driving the narrative. (Democrats never do, do they?)
The Carrier deal saved only 800 jobs -- 730 union jobs plus 70 salaried positions. Cost, as far as we know: $7 million in tax breaks. That's $8750 per job.
The auto rescue saved 1.5 million jobs. A 2014 study said it cost taxpayers $9 billion. That's $6000 per job --for a lot more jobs and a lot more ongoing economic activity.
But Republicans told the story of the auto rescue, just as Republicans are telling the Carrier story. So the polls go their way in both cases.