January 24th, 2010
12:37 PM ET
4 years ago

CNN poll: 56 percent oppose stimulus program

A majority of Americans oppose the economic stimulus program championed by President Obama and passed by a Democratically-controlled Congress, according to a new national poll out Sunday.
A majority of Americans oppose the economic stimulus program championed by President Obama and passed by a Democratically-controlled Congress, according to a new national poll out Sunday.

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans oppose the economic stimulus program, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Sunday say they oppose the stimulus package, with 42 percent supporting it.

Full results

Last March, just weeks after the stimulus bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama, a CNN poll indicated that 54 percent of the public supported the program, with 44 percent opposed.

The program, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, attempts to stimulate the country's economy by increasing federal government spending and cutting taxes at a total cost to the government of $787 billion. No Republicans in the House and only three in the Senate voted in favor of the bill.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 8-10, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.


Filed under: CNN poll • economic stimulus • Popular Posts
soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. Citizensane

    Part of the objection to the stimulus package is its focus on bailing out state and local public sector employees. Gov. Schwarzenegger has the right idea – furloughs. Just like the private sector when there is an economic downturn expenses are cut by cutting costs. If the public sector unions want to block furloughs – then they too can deal with the same reality that the private sector deals with on a daily basis – its called a layoff. After all its the private sector that's paying for those fat pensions and benefits of public sector employees. At some point federal employees need to experience the reality of cuts as well rather than the riduclous pay raise they received this year.

    January 24, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Tim E

    It's a little hard to make much headway when the ship's oars are being manned by one party while the other drags the anchor. Our underlying problem rests in the chasm between two parties that, when not downright hostile toward one another's ideas, are indifferent to the suggestions, pleas and supplications of the people they are supposed to represent, if those people are not registered to their own political party. When we reach, if we ever do, the point in time when we have statesmen rather than party hacks residing in the halls of government, this country may actually do something worth polling.

    January 24, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. LG

    The finanacial bailout may be unpopular with the masses, but most of them are also too young to remember the great depression. If we had just let the banks fold, unemployment would now be much larger than it is and the recession would be dramatically deeper.

    The current problem is the result of a long series of bi-partisan decisions to gradually dismantle the New Deal banking reforms.

    Economists adopted the myth that the economy is self-regulating. It may be true on the long term, but it's clear that it is not self-regulating in the short term. Both the tech bubble and the banking collapse are the result of short term "irrational exuberance".

    January 24, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Death Panel Sarah

    Hey Doug.... yeah, the Clinton administration had a terrible economy!!!!(for the republi-cons!!!) Don't want to use those 'experienced' men in a tough situation like this....something good might happen!!

    January 24, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    So remind me again where the Teabaggers were when Dubya was spending trillions on a war with Iraq? Or when he signed TARP 1 to bail out AIG? Or when unemployment rates were at 700,000 jobs per month?

    Oh that's right, Fox News wasn't telling them to oppose any of these things.

    January 24, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Ancient Texan

    Eugene Berkovich- FDR's wild spending did exactly what Obama's has done. Nothing!. FDR did create some infrustructure in the process, while Obama has used the taxpayer money for payback to Unions and other special interest groups that helped elect him. What finally pulled the country out of the Great Depression was WWII and the war effort. It put every one to work in defense work for the war effort.

    January 24, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    What this poll reflects is a lack of understanding about our economic situation, impatience on the part of the American people, fear that has been fueled by the likes of Fox and Limbaugh, and a naive belief that the huge problems President Obama inherited from 8 years of failed Bush/Cheney economic policies can somehow be fixed overnight.

    You know, if my grandparent's generation had the lack of patience and the attention span of a gnat that the present generation seems to be afflicted with, our country never would have made it out of the Great Depression or succeeded in World War II.

    How about people sucking it up, supporting our president and our country and working to make our country better?

    January 24, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. SC-Pub "no" more

    I guess Obama should have done as the GOP wanted... let the automobile industry fail... let the banks fail... let teachers, fire workers and police go... no money for states – let them fail too, including S.C. and Alaska (who gladly took the money); then we could all get in our rafts and go to China looking for jobs!

    January 24, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  9. Jake Minnesota

    CNN, why so many polls? They have no real use except to tell politicians which way the political winds are blowing this week so that they can tweak their messages to fit. In this role polls can take the place of actual interaction between representatives and their constituencies. These polls are also hard to believe because they never say what kind of test they use; statistics is one of those wonderful fields where you can shop around for a test until you find one that gives you the results you want. Without full disclosure of what kind of test was used or how the poll was conducted (random sample? stratified random sample? every-5th-number-in-the-phone-book?), there is no way to verify that an appropriate (satisfying the necessary assumptions) test has been carried out. Not that most people would know or care; many non-science, non-math college grads have probably never taken a course on (or long ago forgot) even basic statistics. Many undoubtedly hear the poll results and believe them to be true. It is entirely possible that they have been conducted appropriately, but based on how they are reported, that cannot be verified.

    January 24, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Ohio Lady

    There is plenty of time to turn this ship around. Polls mean nothing.
    Too bad one big news network (FOX) spends 24/7 making propoganda against Obama & anything DEM. That influences a lot of people with lower I.Q's. Certain CNN achnors try that too. Thank God CNN has some people like Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta, among others, who use their time for good and not for running our President into the ground. TV is such a revealing media, and even attitudes show through clearly to the wiser viewer.

    January 24, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Think of it this way:

    If your house is in need of repair and you have a limited amount of money, do you spend that money on fixing the house?

    Or do you give that money to someone who already owns several houses, all in good repair, so they can go out and buy more houses?

    The first scenario is President Obama's plan: Invest in job creation, infrastructure, education, sustainable energy, and everything else that will generate income for Americans and our country long into the future.

    The second scenario is the Republican tried-and-failed policy of giving the wealthy more money through tax cuts.

    January 24, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Sally

    I am and was for the stimulus. Unfortunately, the Republicans and blue dog Democrats gutted the most important parts of the bill which would have created many jobs. This legislation was never touted to be an instant fix...it takes time to climb out of the hole eight years of irresponsible Republican governance produced. Of course, the Republicans opposed it...they don't want to do anything to help the people but they are all for going off on wild goose war chases!

    January 24, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. mtnth

    American were gun-ho to spend trillions on wars and build crap in foreign countries (and still are) during the GOP's reign of terror, but when it comes to spending on ourselves were opposed. Its been verified, we are a national of morons!

    January 24, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Brian from washington

    Wait a moment. The Bush Administration started two expensive, botched wars, ran the economy into ground, and left us with huge deficits, and it's Obama who's mortgaging our kids' future? Oh please. Americans have the long-term memory of gerbils.

    January 24, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  15. Fl. Pat

    I do not see any comments from the various governors around the country who have benefited from the money made available.
    I do recall the Bobby Jindals of the world crying foul as they were cashing the checks. Palin did not because she gouged the oil companies for Alaska, seems like something a liberal might consider.

    How many more people would be in the unemployment lines if the auto companies, state workers, and teachers did not benefit from the program? How many more retirement funds & individual 401Ks would have been decimated if the banks were allowed to fail? This was a two year program. Let it work.

    As for piled on taxation, I am actually paying less today than I did a year ago. I venture to guess that for the vast majority of Americans, there is nothing you cannot do today that you could do a year ago. Why the hysteria? You basically are working to protect the assets of the ultra rich talking heads on right wing radio, one fellow makes about 30 mill a year – I'm sure he is looking out for my best interest.

    The one thing that has had a negative affect on my family is that my health insurance permiums went up 27% for 2010 with absolutely no change to my plan (the overall rate of inflation was around 2% in 2009 – go figure)

    Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

    January 24, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. Lynne in CA

    America has become the nation of special interests flush with ill gained money spent on lobbyists to further enrich big business. Both parties are beholden to their corporate masters. I challenge anyone to find a member of Congress that truly works for the people and are not in the pocket of big business. President Obama has had one year to untangle the mess left behind from over 30 years of previous administration's deregulation and implementation of corporate welfare. I am convinced the United States will never become the country we should be because we have allowed ourselves to be led down the garden path of trickle down economics. President Obama will be thwarted at every turn by a Congress whose sole interest is further enriching themselves and garnering enough votes to keep them feeding from the public trough.

    January 24, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    Ancient Texan: You obviously learned your American history from Fox.

    FDR did more than just "create some infrastructure in the process." Contrary to what you believe, these programs were and are nothing to sneeze at:

    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Social Security System, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

    Not to mention the Interstate Highway System and the Rural Electrification Act. Both of these have had a huge and positive impact on our nation's economy.

    President Obama wants to make these kinds of lasting, positive investments in our country, unlike Republicans who want our country to fail in their desperate attempt to regain power.

    January 24, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. Energizedat50

    Switched up my party status just this week to INDEPENDENT!

    January 24, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Doug

    Too many Americans are gullible and uneducated. They get their information from the media and don't realize TV commercials are paid for by special interests. Health care reform was blasted nationally and all were paid for by the insurance giants who do not want it to pass plus the Republicans only want to defeat Obama at OUR costs. Wise up America. Don't be ignorant by choice.

    January 24, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Louis

    Patience will need to be exercised here. All thru history, when America had problems, they took time and required painful decisions to be made.

    Back in the day, thought, both parties came together to solve the nation's ills. We need to get back to that and soon. We face many challenges and only by working together can we solve our many current issues.

    January 24, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Lauren in Ohio

    Hi Marie MD,

    How long will Bush be blamed? The Dems have had a majority for 3 years now. They had control. People forget that. How long before Obama and his supporters admit, we have had it for a year, and it is still a mess, and we increased the debt by record amounts?

    This blame bush thing will only fly so far, I for one as a person who voted Democrat many times, am tired of hearing it. And will probaly vote republican in Nov just because I am tired of all the blame being shuffled fromt he ones who are IN POWER.

    Marie MD January 24th, 2010 9:14 am ET
    I do believe he is trying to do the best with the mess he was left with by the previous dictatorship.
    If only the repugs didn't want him to fail.

    January 24, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. MN JA

    You know – all of you folks that are quick to say "tax the rich" need to stop for a moment and think about something. Not everyone that is "rich" has gotten there by stealing, taking, or defrauding others. Yes, there are the trust-fund babies and yes there are people who have earned their millions if not billions by nefarious means. However, I would submit to you all that this is a small percentage of the so-called "rich" out there. Especially when the Dems define "rich" as a family making more than 250k or an individual making more than 200k. In Minnesota "rich" means you're making more than 60-80k per year. That means that alot of people who are in the middle class, upper middle class or own small businesses as sub-chapter S corporations are going to get swept up in this "tax the rich" hysteria.

    But perhaps more fundamentally – before we demonize the rich – we might want to consider that it is the rich that have the disposable income to not only buy luxury items (that keep lots of people working to make, sell and subsequently service) but to also invest in new businesses, old businesses, and reinvest in our nation. It is profitable corporations that can put money back into their businesses by expanding operations, building more plants, hiring more workers, etc.

    However, with each new tax, each new regulation that is rammed through the Congress by the Democrats, America becomes less hospitable to business, corporations, and the like. Unless we're prepared to forcibly keep these people, industries and enterprises here, they will do what is in their best financial interests to survive and leave, as they are doing here in Minnesota.

    So before we all jump on the tax the rich wagon, perhaps you all should consider what the long term implications of that approach are for our future prosperity. Perhaps we should consider spending cuts, reduction of pork projects that have no value, and reducing the size of government.

    January 24, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. JST

    Americans can be funny. I mean they can't be that naive, can they?

    A president has many jobs to do, but he is not going to resolve problems for an individual voter. He also can't really affect things directly. For example he can create an environment that encourages new jobs, but there are many other factors that might prevent such an effort to be successful.

    I think we also shouldn't forget who created our budget mess: The Republican Party with Mr. Bush. Now, they are asking for immediate results. I think it is funny to ask that if you caused the mess and failed entirely to even start resolving it.

    In general it seems that the country needs a bigger change than either party can provide.

    I went to school in Europe and we were taught something very interesting: A country with a two party system can't be successful and is prone to fail if real trouble emerges. This lesson was nicely documented by historical examples from all over the world. Please feel free to do some research on your own.

    It would be nice to see America finally waking up and to create more parties. More parties will bring more change. Change is needed to get away from the moldy Republican and Democratic parties.

    Unfortunately, I am also a realist and so I have to admit that I don't see any change for the US in the near future. When it comes to politics many people don't use their brains to decide what's best for them. Some simply vote one party because they are from a "Republican Family". Others vote "Democratic" because they have been raised with more "liberal, democratic values".

    In the end, if you lean back and look closely you will find that both parties have moved closer together than ever. Why? Well, they all have to satisfy powerful lobbies on the right and left end (true for each party).

    What does that mean for us? Neither party really cares what the average voter thinks or needs. It's always about opposites and extremes.

    Good luck America! We will need it facing more and more advanced countries all over the world.

    January 24, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Lawguy63

    "Give the wealthy more money through tax cuts"? Are you serious? It's their money to begin with that the government is taking away through taxes, moron. The government isn't giving money away to anybody. It's taking money away from those who actually worked to earn it. Typical liberal ideology: punish those who work by making them support those who don't.

    January 24, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Lenny

    It is completely STUPID to take a poll on complex issues as economic recovery strategy at the local barber shop. The poll should have been conducted by economists who know what they are talking about. That being said, the stimulus package has not been as effective as it could have been.

    The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve is what saved America (thanks to the much maligned Bernanke). Only 33% of the $787b stimulus funds have been spent. $288b was allocated for "tax-cuts" basically to please republicans and that to me is complete waste of money. If the Bush tax cuts of about $1.5 trillion could only deliver 2 million jobs net in 8 years, how would $288b impact the economy during its worst decline in 80 years?

    The dissapointment for me (as an economist and a democrat) is that the president decided to "please" everyone rather than simply tackle the problems as they were presented to him. I warned my fellow democrats during the primaries that what Hillary was talking about made more sense on how to tackle the economic tsunami that was ahead of us, but I had to vote for Obama because McCain was clearly out of his depth and Obama was the lesser evil. Hillary talked about giving homeowners who had lost their jobs a 9 month (I would have preferred 12) moratorium on their mortgage payments if they were out of work. Instead Obama came up with some convoluted policy that only 4% of applicants benefitted from. There are many other failings of this government and that is not to say the republicans have any idea what they are talking about.

    Can he recover his standing and take on the economic issues as he should have done? Yes, but time is fast running out. Projections show the economy might take another nose-dive and now is not the time for speeches. If I were Obama, I would start with getting rid of Geithner and Summers and talking to people like Joseph Gagnon who know what they are talking about. Just my 2 cents.

    January 24, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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