August 17th, 2009
12:39 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Stimulus not working

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Six months after the $787 billion economic stimulus package became law, a new poll indicates a majority of Americans don't think it's working.

Fifty-seven percent of those questioned in a USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday say the federal stimulus has had no effect on the economy so far, or has made things worse. Just over four in 10 say the stimulus has made things better.

The poll also suggests that six in 10 doubt that the stimulus package will make things better in the future, with 38 percent saying the infusion of money from Washington will have a positive effect on the nation's economy.

"Support for the stimulus package dropped significantly even before it was passed, and six months ago the public was evenly divided over whether it would help the economy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Americans have never supported the idea of a second stimulus bill - back in March, two-thirds opposed that idea."

The stimulus package includes nearly $300 billion in tax cuts and nearly $500 billion in new spending. No Republicans in the House of Representatives, and only three in the Senate, voted in favor of the bill.

Republicans have been vocal in criticizing what they call the ineffectiveness of the stimulus package to lower unemployment and jump start the economy.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted August 6-9, with 1,010 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN Polls • Stimulus
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. Marsh

    The public has a very short and selective memory. Before April, I thought the US financial system would collapse, the US auto companies would be liquidated, and a depression was unavoidable. That picture has improved dramatically because of the swift action of the Obama Administration.

    The full effect of the stimulus has yet to be realized. As I Project Manager, I wish the general public could appreciate how much time it takes to execute a project once the money is approved. It takes time to bid and award contracts, finalize engineering, procure materials, and obtain necessary permits.To complain that the stimulus is not working is extremely short sighted.

    August 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. VC, MD

    The recession was just a business cycle and it's correcting itself despite the stimulus package and not because of it. Most of the stimulus money will be going down the drain and we are mortgaging the future of this country for that. Only people it will help are the small community groups and the unions. Tax someone else to pay for me culture promoted by the bill and other socialist policies will ensure that very soon USA won't be the economic superpower just a super borrower.

    August 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Alex

    never mind that the stock market has been doing extremely well. we remember bad days like today and forget about great days like the last two weeks. unemployment is always the last thing to improve, and only after consumer spending recovers. patience, please.

    August 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. TJ

    CNN I am sick of your polls. I have notice that all of your polls are negative when it comes to Our President. You are the leader of the pack. Makes me wonder...... Seems like to me that you want Obama to fail too. YOU ARE THE GOP... Media has spoke!

    August 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Debbie

    It would sure be nice to show what would have happened in an alternate universe. I'd hate to see what would have happened to our economy in an all-out freefall. But, I think that's what Americans need to see - of course, then they'd blame Obama for not doing anything. It's a no-win situation in this country. The majority of Americans are determined to be mad.

    August 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Scott

    The stimulus is working. The money is being spent carefully (still 80% to go), and the recession is already bottoming out. Obama has shown steady leadership. I shudder to think what horrors we'd be in if McCain/Palin were running the show. 25% unemployment? Higher? If you want someone to blame for the slightly higher than projected unemployment, look to the GOP governors. They're still laying off state workers and cutting services and education. They are the anti-stimulus. They continue to do their thing because most Americans are too stupid to balance their own checkbooks, let alone understand anything about how the economy works. Obama is right: the economy cannot be truly fixed until we solve health care and energy. It would help if we had an electorate educated enough to intelligently debate these issues, but instead we get morons bellowing like cattle at town-hall meetings. That's what we owe CNN, FOX, et al. who give us 24/7 dumbed-down generic news: citizens too stupefied to have a clue about anything.

    August 17, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. zago

    The poll itself is stupid. Are kidding me? Measuring whether a stimulus program is working with a poll? Come on America. We deserve better

    August 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Pete

    seems to be working just fine where I am!

    August 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. A. Goodwin

    The stimulus is ABSOLUTELY working in NH. Maybe not as fast as some would like, but tons of roads are being improved here thanks to stimulus money. I also work for a private company who contracts to State agencies, and the money is finally flowing to new programs. We have a brand new job that will employ many here at work for at least a few years! The best part about this program – we get paid and people get to keep jobs AND the work is to improve the environment.

    I think that people feel that the stimulous is not working unless is directly hits their pockets. That's understandable, but I think ignorance is fueling skepticism about where the money is going and what it is for. People see new bridges and roads being built but may not understand where the millions of dollars it takes to build these comes from. Nor do people realize that to improve the environment to create new jobs – a little money is needed upfront to get the programs going.

    Something else to consider – while the Fed. provided some guidance to States on how to spend the $$ – some is going to pay off debt. So, if you life in the great states of Alaska or South Carolina – your government needs to play catch-up with these funds for mis-managed states.

    Thank goodness I LIVE FREE OR DIE! Thanks, NH, for making the stimulus money work!

    August 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. David L. Davila

    Question? Where would we be if the stimulus package was not passed?
    I will tell you that we would be now in a deep Global Depression because the financial institutions around the world would have collapased. You can go and crucify Obama but the President had no choice in passing a stimulus package.

    We the American people are not patient because we want instant gratification!! It takes time for all of the money to be circulating through the economy. It will take another year before the recession will end.
    Remember the Republicans want Obama to fail.

    August 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Jim Voigh

    When you put a HUGE amount of (taxpayers's) money like that into the economy, of course it will help one way or another.

    The question here is, "do tax payers get a fair share for the value?". I, for one, do not think so. Too much money was used in pork projects, as well as covering budget gaps (at lower levels of government). Of course the unions and the environmental activists will not agree. They got their "payback" for all the hardwork they put in to help President Obama get elected.

    August 17, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. George , New York

    I live on Long Island. Over the last six-months, within one mile of my house, over 40 small family-owned businesses have closed their doors. In the meanwhile, they have been replaced by three new banks and a pharmacy. All four of these new "businesses: were built on foreclosed commercial property sites – so much for a stimulus plan. What a joke.

    August 17, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Gary

    It wasn't stimulus is was PORK. The recession is too big and worldwide for us to niavely think that borrowing more from our grand children for pork projects who significantly affect the economy.

    Of course it didn't work, and lets not do any more excessive spending.

    BALANCE THE BUDGET!!!!

    August 17, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Gary

    Just more proof that socialism NEVER works. If congress had any cajones they would pull all the money that has not been wasted, lower taxes, and let the free market work, it always does. They problem is keeping the idiots in government out of the way. They are usually the reason that things go bad. They screwed with Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac which started this entire mess. The more government intervenes the more problems we have. We were founded a free country and we need to return to that model. We have a Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and other excellent founding documents to guide us. We have models that have worked and we have models that have failed. This administration has chosen to follow the models that have failed. We need to get back to the models that work. We must abandon every aspect of socialism and return to the free market that works. Their will be fluctuations but it always work until the federales get involved.

    August 17, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. The black Spider

    The GOP and with their allies tea party protesters, or ignorant medicaid or medicare recepients holding signs protesting against government run health care option will never agree on anything the president done right.
    For this people "GOD" is the reason of everything and everything could be solved or solved by the immaginary "GOD HAND".
    When the DAW JONES is at his lowest in january and we were loosing average 700000 jobs I've also seen polls saying 52% of americans think the economy was not in recession and that everything was good.
    The countries that are outsmarting us like japan, china and other countries in europe knows the stimulus was the reason their economy was improving. Only in America this could be denied.
    We need education reform more than health care reform.

    August 17, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Greg in Houston

    The end of the 3rd or 4th quarter is when we will start see results. Most Americans are about as educated about economics as a rock. Who cares what "most" people think when it actually IS working.

    August 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. mark

    Wonderful that you all continue to blame GW, et al for the economy. Did you ever notice that in the 1990's the President (your self-proclaimed BEST PRESIDENT EVER until Obama came along and he becamse the BEST PRESIDENT EVER...notice a patter?) pushed and pushed and pushed for mortgage companies, etc to give loans to those who couldnt quite qualify for them? And who loves to tax big business into oblivion? Oh yeah, the Democrats...wonder why big companies went overseas and the car companies here continued to make their product with less quality? Maybe because they had to pay the enormous taxes and couldnt compete with foreign companies on price AND quality...

    just some thoughts...

    August 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Kimberly

    Bye Bye Obama! :)

    August 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. RealityKing

    Meanwhile.., the National Debt soars to 80% GDP while Obama talks about spending more without raising taxes. Progressive Change You Can Beleive In!

    August 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. sky

    I think then that a majority of Americans aren't paying attention and perhaps someone...hmmmm...who would that be exactly.....where do people get their info...hmmmmm....I wonder....somehow people have been getting an incorrect image. Seems to me....we are about to move out of this recession and....I think THAT might ought to be the news......who owns you guys anyway

    August 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    The reason most American's who do not use "FUZZY MATH" like the politicians, feel the stimulous package is not working, is we know America cannot afford the stimulous package and will have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for it unless you want to stick your children and grandchildren with the bill, but there are enough of you selfish me generation out there that do not care about the future only what you can get at the present. We have needed to sacrafice for generations but have not. We need to go back on the Gold Standard.

    August 17, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. davidbcoe

    Economic indicators are pointing in the right direction for the first time in months, and the President told us that the stimulus would take time to work. We didn't get into this mess overnight and we won't get out of it that way either. The question in the poll is irresponsible and was bound to give a worthless result. If my kid gets an ear infection and I start her on antibiotics for ten days, I'm not going to ask her after the first day if she's feeling better yet. Five days in, yes, but not one. Take this poll again in a year or so. That will give a much better indication of what's happening with the economy and how people feel about it.

    August 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. John in WV

    The republicans started blowing our multi-trillion dollar budget surplus 8 years ago by giving 90% of it to the rich in tax breaks. They could have stengthened the middle class with tax relief but they didn't. They could have reformed health care but they didn't. They could have saved billions by staying out of Iraq but they didn't. Now Obama is supposed to wave a magic wand and clean up their mess. Fact is, the republicans don't want that to happen either. They would rather see people suffer than see Obama succeed.

    August 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. rick

    its so funny watching all the obama admires choke in their saliva. What is more funny is their refusal to believe they were conned. Besides the devil takes no refunds, once your soul is sold, its a done deal. obama has no use for you, so shut up and agree with him. Theres is nothing special about this guy, he is living proof that George Bushes 3rd term lives

    August 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Enough

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling...............stimulus must be passed or doom and gloom is coming. Stimulus passed, unemployment out of control, no jobs created, just more of the same......tax and spend, tax and spend.

    August 17, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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