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. Louis

    SAY WHAT?? Let me get this straight–the majority of those polled support the bailout of $800,000,000,000 but "they don't support a new era of big government"? The bottom line attitude of many Americans–the payments for this borrowed money will be dumped on our kids and grandkids, so what do we care. People love the bailout as long as someone else pays for it. The responsible citizens who live within their means, save each month, and make sensible choices will continue to bail out the fools and speculators.

    December 23, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. California Gold

    I think people are pretty scared right now and have cautiously high hopes for any intelligent program from a fresh new team. We have suffered enough with completely inert so called "leaders" who opened up the Treasury to banks after filling their own pockets.

    December 23, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. DAVE IN CA

    all of these politicians should suffer who do they think they are to give themselves a raise when so many are unemployed? if you people want change get rid of all of these people out of washington and bring in some new blood...... too many years to dig there heels and become corrupt.. there should be a two term limit on all senators and congressmen and representatives in all states..... enough is enough

    December 23, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Lori

    I agree with Obama. What other options do we have to jump start this terrible economy?

    December 23, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Tim E

    If we spend it the way Obama recommended while on vacation, buying beer, then we'll put the money right back into circulation(in more ways than one), right back into the taxation cycle(including tips), and we won't even remember what our troubles were. "President Who?"

    December 23, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. bill

    IF OBAMA WILL HAVE STIMLIUS PACKAGE.IT HAD BETTER be more accountable than bushes 700 billion to banks and insurance ceos.if cnn wants to dig up something better take a look at bailout money.where it went.we are mad as hell and need answers.

    December 23, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Kevin B

    The alternative minnimum tax needs to be repealed in conjunction (if not already in the works) with any earned income tax arrangments low wage earners.

    The states and local municipalities will need to be addressed promptly as well.

    As for paying-news flash- The tax payers are already paying for excesses of the last 8 years. The last time the budget was even "projected" to be in surplus was 1999-2000.

    Now is not the time for finger pointing and whining. This is the time to save what we all know is the greatest nation on earth.

    Is this generation of americans up to the task. ? Ask your elders what they did to turn it around back in the 30's and 40's

    December 23, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Matt

    @ jj

    So when a poll says somethign you don't like, it's just wrong? You're a shining example of GOP thought process.

    December 23, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  9. Perusing-Through

    NEED INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS . . .

    Well, I'm sure you people saw it in the news today. Six-foot water pipe in a D.C. suburb busted, flooding the road and stranding drivers. Just another civil disaster generated by America's failing infrastructure.

    Mr. Obama, thank you for the $800-billion economic stimulus and you can start by peeling of a few billion to fix bridges, roads, and so many other disasters ready to happen. Oh, and by the way, it will also put people to work so they can pay their mortgages.

    December 23, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  10. Gordon Shumway

    We'll see how they feel about their kids and grandkids having to pay it off. Oh that's right, in Socialism one just writes it off, no need to balance the books. George W opened the door, Obama could have said thank you!

    December 23, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  11. Polly

    If you ignore a problem, it won't go away.

    December 23, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  12. Gay Marriage

    Hey Suzy are you and Gov. Palin related? You two Idiots sound like your from the same village. Who's your leader?

    December 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. Mari

    @ FREENLOVINIT....... YOU REALIZE IT .....IS..... A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT...... WHO WANTED TO BAIL OUT .....WALL STREET ....DON'T YOU???????

    December 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. chris

    wow almost like the election results 56% in favor 42% opposed, amazing

    December 23, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  15. aware

    PEBO is on th way out before his inauguration! He is an inexperienced jerk trying to rely on the expertise of old school failures! :(

    December 23, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Get Real

    If they are going to do anything, GET IT RIGHT THIS TIME!!!! Hold individuals as well as Corporate America accountable. IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT, DO NOT BUY IT!!!!!!! This bad misjudgement by individuals is what led to the credit and housing busts. Dumb people who can't budget money should not have a credit card!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Lauren

    You want to stimulate,,,
    then stimulate the divorced mother who is working two jobs, with no health care, a dead beat father for her kids.

    Stimulate the farmers, who cost of producing food to feed our country has sky rocketed, with very little increase in amounts paid to the farmer,

    Stimulate the older couple who saved for retirement by working hard at thier job, but no work meaningless jobs after the place they worked went bankrupt, leaving the couple with nothing left of thier retirement.

    Stimulate the person who lost thier job because of major illness or injury, and the company they work for does not provide sick time or disabillty leave. And they never had health insurance.

    Stimulate the young person, who went to college, earned a degree, but now can not find a good job and works in a low paying factory, trying to pay back student loans.

    DO NOT STIMULATE, Wall street, the big three, actors, pro sports, music entertainers, politicians, multi million dollar white collar CEOs.

    Stimulate the true red white and blue american. The grunts of this nation, the people who have had it stuck to them over and over again, with no hope of ever seeing the light of day.

    Please Mr Obama,,, stimulate the working men and women, the needy, the hurting, and the unfortunate,,,,,

    December 23, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Angie

    DITTO-
    Lauren December 23rd, 2008 7:26 pm ET

    December 23, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. Grant in Canada

    I've seen that odd post about giving everyone a million dollars before. Thanks to the Math Police (Janel & Fredi) :)

    Is the entire world economy $305 trillion? Thats a lot of cash.

    December 23, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. Joe Fattal

    Last year I had a stimulus check. I hate to say it , it ended up with IRS. This year they talking about another stimulus, this one under Mr. Obama. Unless that check , if there is going to be another check comes straight to my house, then his plan worked. If not , why sending a check. They bail out the banks, the auto industry, they spent trillions of dollars, and don't tell me they can't come out with at least a thousand dollars for each one of us. And don't send it to the IRS, if you owe them the money is gone. Last stimulus helped the IRS more than some of us.With this coming administration the chances for us to get anything out of it is zero anyhow. But, As Mr. Obama had a dream for a change, I have mine for a check. So, I guess I'll wait and see.

    December 23, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Larry of Boston

    How can any average American Support Obama's stimulus Plan when none of us has a clue what it entails -

    December 23, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. dr.mimi de la cruz

    OUR ECONOMY HAS TAKEN A 10 TRILLION DOLLAR HIT

    FROM THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION & NONE OF IT WAS

    SPENT ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. OBAMA SPENDING MY

    TAXES ON MY PEOPLE & MY COUNTRY GETS MY VOTE.

    LETS DO THIS !!!

    December 23, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  23. Daniel Cabrera

    " MERRY CHRISTMAS!,MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    I wander if Santa Claus will have the marvelous idea to give as special present to each democrat, A BRAIN!, so they can descern intelligently to vote republican on the next elections (if we ever get another elections).

    But then that is too much to ask to the old fat guy, for I think he is fed-up with the politics around the world, specially the CHICAGO-CORRUPTED POLITICAL DYNAMICS ATMOSPHERE, FROM WHERE OBAMA COMES FROM!

    Happy Holidays everyone!

    Sincerely,
    Daniel Cabrera
    Merrillville, Indiana "

    December 23, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. Mike

    When America realizes the Democrats/Liberals have put us right where they want us with their "government to help the little man" schemes just to keep the Dems in more power then polls like this will have much different results. Until then... bend over everyone.

    When was the last time Government helped anyone??

    December 23, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. Larry

    I don't know anybody that is in favor of another spending stimulus plan,everybody I have talked to wants the government to stop spending money, we do not have any money,and haven't even printed that money yet.Anybody that knows anything about economics knows that you can not "borrow" your way out of debt.All we are doing is delaying the inevitable and drawing it out MUCH longer than it would be if we just bite the bullet and get it over with.Common sense would be what polls would say,not more spending and bail outs.

    December 23, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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