55% of Americans are against a federal bailout of U.S. automakers. This, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll of 1,003 randomly-selected adults nationwide that was conducted by phone last week between December 11 and 14 (we didn't get a call, did you?). 42% of those polled express support for the measure, which died in the Senate late last Thursday night. The poll results show that respondents place 75% of the blame for the current crisis facing Detroit on the shoulders of management, with 22% blaming the economy. On the question of whether automaker bankruptcy filings would be good, bad or make no difference in the economy, the majority (43%) feel that bankruptcy proceedings would have no effect. 34% feel it would be bad, and 17% of those polled believe that it would be a good thing for the broader economy.

In related news, an announcement on a new White House-backed bailout deal for GM and Chrysler using money from Hank Paulson's magic TARP slush fund could come tomorrow, according to Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat. Levin hopes/believes that whatever deal comes out of the current negotiations will be in line with the original, failed package brokered between President Bush and House Democrats. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, whose Senate compromise deal fell apart when the UAW walked away from the table, is pressing the White House to impose "tougher" conditions on all involved parties as part of any potential agreement. However this pans out (last week's events should serve as a reminder that regardless of what's reported, a deal is not a "lock"), expect roughly half the population to be plenty ticked off once the smoke clears.

[Sources: The Washington Post, Reuters]