December 23rd, 2008
04:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Most Americans support Obama's $800 billion stimulus plan, poll finds

Polls suggest the majority of Americans favor an economic stimulus package.
Polls suggest the majority of Americans favor an economic stimulus package.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests that most Americans favor an economic stimulus package even if it comes with an $800 billion price tag, but that support doesn't indicate that the public wants to see a new era of big government.

Fifty-six percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Tuesday said they favor the stimulus package that President-elect Barack Obama is proposing; 42 percent were opposed. Obama is pushing Congress to pass the plan soon after he's inaugurated on January 20, to help jump-start an economy mired in a deep recession.

The poll also indicates that two-thirds of the public thinks the stimulus package will do just that, with 17 percent saying it will help the economy a lot and another 50 percent feeling that it will help the economy somewhat. Twenty-one percent say the stimulus package won't help the economy very much and 10 percent say it won't help at all.

But Americans seem to be split on whether they'd like more government regulation of business and industry, with 39 percent saying there's too much government regulation and an equal amount saying too little. Twenty percent said the amount of government involvement is just right.

"Attitudes toward government have not changed since 2006, when the economy was still in pretty good shape," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Most still say the government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses, and trust in government is still low."

On the other hand, he said, "with the economy in such poor shape, government action to stimulate the economy seems to get an exemption to the general concerns about big government."

There also appears to be a divide between the parties when it comes to government involvement.

"Six in 10 Democrats want to see the federal government do more," Holland said. "But three-quarters of Republicans would like to see a smaller government. The tiebreaker is independents. A majority of the independents polled say that government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses."

The poll also suggests that a declining number of Americans trust the government to do what's right.

Twenty-two percent of those polled said they trust the government to do what's right most of the time. That's down 6 points from when the question was asked two years ago. Sixty-six percent said they trust the government some of the time, and 9 percent said they never trust Washington. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 3 percent said they can always trust the government to do the right thing.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,013 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Obama is doing the right thing. We are in such a deep hole that "tweaking" the economy won't help. It's time to "go big" or stay home. His plan is our best chance to turn this thing around before we run the ship completely aground.

    December 23, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Suzi

    I just checked and the census clock shows the US population as 305,946,827. I still like the idea of giving each of us a million dollars - it would be cheaper than giving it to the banks. I volunteer to help jump start the economy!

    December 23, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  3. NYC REPUB

    I say to Obama/Biden, God speed, and pray for wisdom daily. Also I live in NY........ It would be great for some infrastructure to be improved around here........ Especially to see the Twin Towers rebuilt.......... 7 years after 9/11 we still have nothing........ Even VA., and the Pentagon have erected memorials...... People look at Dubai, and see how far back we are in building this country.

    December 23, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Nancy, FL

    I believe in president elect Obama. I think he is sincerely trying to make a difference and he has my support 100%.

    Give him a break, he hasn't even started the job yet, and the nay sayers are having a field day.

    Obama all the way.

    December 23, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Ellen Bradley

    It would be so great to give everyone everything they dream of. You don't expect M\E to pay for all that, do you?

    December 23, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Ellen Bradley

    It would be so great to give everyone everything they dream of. You don't expect ME to pay for all that, do you?

    Please keep it a fair America and have everyone who gains to participate in paying the tab, not just the hard-working people like me who already pay our fair share.

    December 23, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. Independant Thinker

    Let's dig the hole deeper while we are at it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Janet - Missouri

    Giving a million dollars to each person in the U.S. equals
    305,000,000,000,000.

    Can you people not do basic math even with big numbers?

    That's part of the problem.

    December 23, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Texas Teacher

    And, Suzi, I would surely be happy to try out your suggestion! *LOL* I know I have heard that money does not make you happy.... but I would surely like to test that theory! I've got a feeling it would surely make my misery a bit easier to deal with! :)

    December 23, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. nom deplume

    Of course most americans are for the baiouts

    Most americans won't have to pay for it.

    December 23, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. Fredi

    to Suzi:
    I just checked and the census clock shows the US population as 305,946,827. I still like the idea of giving each of us a million dollars — it would be cheaper than giving it to the banks. I volunteer to help jump start the economy!
    ======================================================
    little correction of your fuzzy math: 300 Million times $1,000,000 equals 300 TRILLION – not billion.

    December 23, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. jj

    The polls are invalid, they don't represent the majority. I for one was against the first bail out, and I'm against any other bail out unless it is ALL for each American citizen 18yrs of age or older. We are key to the debt, heal our pain, and cure the disease. This country is no longer "of the people for the people" and I wake every day with a growing dislike for the government.

    December 23, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. naqib

    Reagan increased the debt over 2 Trillion
    Clinton by 2.5 Trillion
    Bush by 4.5 Trillion

    My Goodness... when does it stop?

    December 23, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Money

    He is in for money, materialism and socialism, that is all, his money bought the White House, but moral and spiritual well-fare of the younger generations, who are learning from his habbit of smoking and drinking. Lincoln and Washington would roll in their graves.

    December 23, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. mesa

    Peggy the Moocher wants to know when he is going to start paying her mortgage.

    December 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. wellthereitis

    Very good Suzy, let's bankrupt the country. Do the math: $1 Million time 305 million = 305 Trillion, the federal deficit is around 10.5 trillion, you want it to be 30 times worse?

    A 700 Billion bailout would only be a little more than $2,000 per person.

    December 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. proudliberal-independent

    if it puts people to work, keeps them in their homes, and improves society and infrastructure for those suffering the most, then this is the ONLY choice we have. republicans should suffer politically, and have, and democrats need to stop capitulating to the center AND the right ,because we will get nothing but the status quo. real change will never come from the 'center'.

    December 23, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. Kevin B

    It is good to see that the majority of americans are politically mature and pragmatic enough to understand that now is not the time for the usual left/right drivel.

    This may very well be the last best hope to ensure the american dream is alive for the vast majority of middle america.

    We have your back Mr President-elect !!

    December 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. KG

    Short term, yep, it will give us a bump. Long term, it will just put us $800B deeper in debt. End result, Obama's promise of giving a tax hike only to the top 5% will disappear. The tax hike will have to be far more widespread.

    December 23, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. clifford

    Hey! Nancy,FL drank all the kool-aid!!

    December 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. Dave, Illinois

    Sure they do, as long as somebody else pays for it. Instead of paying money out to selected groups and, thus, paying for the administrative costs to do so – why not let people just keep more of their money? Most people will use it to pay down debt and infuse more money into the banking system, which will be available for credit. Others will spend it and stimulate retail sales. Keep government out!

    December 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. canuck

    anybody poll the people who will be paying for this – our kids?

    December 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  23. FreeNLovIt

    To JJ

    The first bailout was the right thing to do, but there was no oversight and it all went to the CEOs.

    December 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  24. FreeNLovIt

    It was reported that Wall Street CEOs were bailed out at the price of 1.5 billion dollars. If this is not socialism for the elites, , I dont know what it is..

    December 23, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  25. FreeNLovIt

    In 1989, when I was in high school, my political science teacher told us, that if we are all willing to pay a little more taxes, our government does not have to pay that .5 billion or whatever, which accummulates to be a trillion. To stop this trend, we either have to cut funding or pay a little bit more to not have to borrow.

    December 23, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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