Republicans who voted for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout are facing conservative anger — and accordingly having a tough time getting re-elected:
Though the bailout is an issue in Democratic races, it has become more damaging for Republicans, for whom government spending is more controversial. In March, the issue contributed to veteran Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s resounding defeat in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry dubbed her “Kay `Bailout’ Hutchison.”
Opinion polls show a sharp decline in public support for the government’s role in stabilizing financial institutions. A survey conducted by the Pew Center for the People and the Press in February showed that only 40 percent of Americans now support the effort, and only 26 percent of Republicans.
Rep. John Boozman of Arkansas and Sen. Robert Bennett of Utah are among the incumbent Republicans who have been endangered by their pro-TARP votes. Support for the bailouts has also gotten many a Republican, like Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, booed while speaking at Tea Party rallies.