According to the latest Rasmussen telephone polling [via The Financial], 48 percent of Americans believe that the government’s ownership stake in GM and Chrysler means it has a conflict of interest in regulating competing automakers. 25 percent disagree, saying that the government’s bailout doesn’t affect regulation, and another 26 percent aren’t sure. When it comes to recent criticism of Toyota by administration officials like Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, only 25 percent believe the criticism stems from a desire to help GM, while 38 percent disagree and 37 percent aren’t sure. But the polls most interesting results have nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with perception:
Despite Toyota’s major safety recalls, owners of its cars are still more loyal than those who drive cars made by the bailed-out GM. Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans who currently own a Toyota say they are at least somewhat likely to buy their next car from the troubled automaker, compared to 57% of GM drivers who say they are at least somewhat likely to buy their next car from GM.