Half of all Americans (50 percent) still lack confidence in the U.S. banking system, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
This number is unchanged from July when 51 percent expressed little or no confidence in the banking system. That compares to 46 percent in April and a high for the year of 57 percent in February.
The latest figure includes 39 percent who are not very confident in the U.S. banking system and 11 percent who are not at all confident.
These findings come despite the government’s spending of billions in taxpayer funds to bail out the ailing financial industry since last September’s Wall Street meltdown. Perhaps this skepticism is due in part to the continuing belief by 78 percent of Americans that Wall Street benefited more from the government bailout than the average U.S. taxpayer did. Only eight percent (8 percent) say the taxpayer benefited more.
Those numbers are also virtually unchanged from July. Last October, as the first bailout of the financial industry was working its way through Congress, only 63 percent felt that Wall Street was the chief beneficiary. The number climbed to 67 percent in February when the Obama administration announced another bank bailout plan.
Just 44 percent of adults now are confident in the U.S. banking system. That number breaks down as 39 percent who are somewhat confident and just 5 percent who are very confident.
This overall confidence finding is relatively unchanged compared to July, but is down five points from 48 percent in April. In early February, just 39 percent expressed confidence in the domestic banking system.
In July of last year, two months before the Wall Street meltdown began dominating the news, 68 percent of Americans were confident in the stability of the nation’s banking system. Just 28 percent did not share that confidence.
Late last week, federal regulators shut down the San Joaquin Bank in California. It was the 99th federally insured bank to fail so far this year, compared with 25 for all of last year and three in 2007. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantees each depositor’s account up to $250,000.
Women are slightly more confident in the banking system than men. Democrats are more confident than Republicans and adults not affiliated with either party.
Fifty-six percent of investors say they’re at least somewhat confident in the banking system, compared to 35 percent of non-investors. But the number in both groups who are very confident is virtually the same and in single digits.
Americans who earn more than $75,000 per year have more confidence in the nation’s banks than those who earn less.
Americans are more confident than they’ve been all year that housing values are going up and also are more likely to say their home is worth more than they owe on it. But they still don’t think it’s a good time to be selling.
Fifty percent of voters favor sending all Social Security recipients a $250 check to make up for the lack of a cost-of-living adjustment this year. However, when voters learn that the plan is expected to cost taxpayers $13 billion, support falls.
Confidence in the $787-billion economic stimulus package approved by Congress in February has reached a new high. Thirty-six percent of voters now say the package has helped the economy, while 28 percent say it has hurt the economy.
But 62 percent of voters oppose the passage of a second economic stimulus package this year.
Still, 55 percent say the nation’s current economic problems are due to the recession that began under President George W. Bush. Thirty-seven percent blame the policies President Obama has put in place since taking office.