January 25th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority of Americans say much of stimulus wasted

Washington (CNN) - Nearly three out of four Americans think that at least half of the money spent in the federal stimulus plan has been wasted, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday morning also indicates that 63 percent of the public feels that projects in the plan were included for purely political reasons and will have no economic benefit, with 36 percent saying those projects will benefit the economy.

Twenty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say nearly all the money in the stimulus has been wasted, with 24 percent feeling that most money has been wasted and another 29 percent saying that about half has been wasted. Twenty-one percent say that only a little has been wasted and 4 percent feel that no stimulus dollars have been wasted.

"One reason why the economic stimulus bill is no longer popular with the American public is the perception that a lot of the money has been wasted. Six in ten believe that the projects in the stimulus bill were included for purely political reasons," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nearly three quarters believe that at least half the stimulus money spent so far has been wasted, and one in five say nearly all of it has been a waste."

According to a CNN poll released Sunday, 56 percent of the public opposes the stimulus, with 42 percent supportive of the plan. Last March, just weeks after the stimulus bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama, a CNN survey indicated that 54 percent 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 of Representatives 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 report.


Filed under: CNN poll • economic stimulus
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Phuq Ewe

    The biggest waste in government spending was done by G.W. Bush who raised the national deficit by more than all U.S. presidents combined. No matter how bad the economy appears to be during Obama's terms in office (yes, "terms," Obama will be reelected in 2012), keep in mind that Republicans always create unprecedented deficit spending and then the next Democrat in office tries like hell to fix the screwed up mistakes the GOP wants us to block out of our collective memory. No matter what gains the GOP makes they will always be the party of deficit spending and tax cuts for the wealthy. They are scum sucking leaches who drain the blood of the middle class.

    January 25, 2010 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  2. Obamadollars

    The Great and Powerful Obama hired thousands of new munchkin bureaucrats with Obamadollars, and gave a million more munchkin bureaucrats raises, so how has the stimulus been wasteful ? Selfish Americans should pay their taxes in full, and on time, and be happy with what The Great Obama provides ! And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain !

    The Great Obama has spoken – NOW GO !!!

    January 25, 2010 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  3. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    You tax a ton of money away from people and businesses, and then scatter that money around in various ways. How does that "stimulate" anything? It doesn't create more money, it just moves it around in ways pleasing to politicians. It doesn't create jobs either. How can it when the money that might have been used by a small business to hire someone is taxed away to government? The only part of the "stimulus" that might have any positive effect are tax reductions.

    And, by the way, that $787 billion "total cost" wasn't, as the article says, to the government, it was a cost to American taxpayers.

    January 25, 2010 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  4. Willy Brown

    As wasted as voting in progressive democrats to power in congress solve your problems

    January 25, 2010 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  5. db

    Count me in.

    January 25, 2010 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  6. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Keep your eyes on ACORN and the other Obama corrupt cronies... They are all partying in the Bahamas!

    January 25, 2010 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  7. Bill of Florida

    I would like to know just how much fo the stimulus money is still being held back by the states. Florida sat on the stimulus funds for the longest time, and I believe we are just now beginning to put them to use on our road projects. On the other hand, I'd also like to know why the banks have continued to freeze their loans. Don't tell me it's because the federal government put all kinds of new regulations on them. They need to be regulated and it simply hasn't happened yet. Instead, what we have is these big executives getting fat bonuses when we bailed them out. Oh, wait a minute! I forgot. The executives are the "employees" or the "workers" who through their top talent have run their businesses into the ditch.

    January 25, 2010 06:41 am at 6:41 am |
  8. Michele

    These people must know a lot more about the dollars than the rest of us. From what I've read, more than half of the money has not even been spent yet, so how could it be wasted? And the first surge of money went directly to US as a tax cut in our pay. Was that wasted too? This is a pretty stupid poll unless those polled were given facts beforehand, and not talking points from Fox. Come on. you can and must do better than this, CNN.

    January 25, 2010 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  9. Tony in Maine

    The Party of No has learned a basic Atwater lesson, control the conventional wisom by planting weeds in the media and then heavily fertilizing with truckloads of cr*p.

    The Fourth Estate works under impossible deadlines with minimal training and has no time for niceties like fact checking so simply put their own name on RNC releases. No longer a need to use Drudge though Fox is frequently a source of disinformation.

    Once the meme has been repeated a half dozen times, it becomes the conventional wisdom. Commission a poll showing that the electorate bought it hook, line and sinker and the "news" becomes fact.

    January 25, 2010 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  10. Fran

    I am sick of paying high taxes and then, watching the government blow my money! And you think I want these jokers running health care. I'll trust big business any day over crooked politicians. There are a lot of dishonest, deal-making congressmen and they have never been so overtly corrupt!.

    January 25, 2010 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  11. WENDELL

    What stimulus?

    January 25, 2010 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  12. Obamadable Snowman

    Had Nobama been worried more about the stimulus and jobs, rather than his healthcare debacle, the economy might be in better shape now. Of course, now that is his focus after losing a key Senate seat. What a phony.

    January 25, 2010 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  13. Right Leaning Independent

    It was political payback to the Dems supporters and nothing more! If they wanted a real stimulus, they would put money back into the taxpayers's pockets and let them spend it the way they wanted!

    January 25, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  14. mike in tx

    The American people are not stupid, they understand what this presidient is all about. He talks moderate but if you listen to everything he says it is about re-distribution of wealth. Take money from hard workers and give it to slugs. The stimulus was used to pay for the democratic party wish list of programs that had been stopped for years. The democratic party needs to purge itself of progressives. Progressives are a disease that is destroying this country.

    January 25, 2010 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  15. ronvan

    History will tell if the stimulus actually worked or not. As for right now it appears that it is a joke as I continue to hear how some of it is being spent, which could have just been flushed down the toilet and gotten same effect!

    January 25, 2010 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  16. independent

    CNN Poll: 3 of 4 Americans say much of stimulus money wasted

    And they know this how? Are these the same folks who voted for G. Bush, twice? Are these the same folks who said, torture and kidnapping is ok, as long as it is someone with a foreign sounding name? Are these the same people who say, it's ok that 40 million Americans don't have health insurance as long as my life insurance doesn't cost more? Are these the same people who believe the GOP supreme court that corporations have an unregulated right to affect our elections, though they don't have a right to vote?

    I think global warming is now affecting America's brains.

    January 25, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  17. how useful?

    This is a very complex question that will take years to fully resolve – not sure how much individual opinions can tell us at this stage – what are the facts?

    January 25, 2010 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  18. Alan

    Well you do the math. There is an article in CNN/Money that explains how a company in South FL just got a $20,500,000 stimulus job that is going to save 20 jobs at their firm. They still layed off 200 in the last year. HMMMM sounds like a pretty good bang for the buck doesn't it.

    $20 million to save 20 jobs!! That's Democrat math for you.

    January 25, 2010 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  19. so rich even obama couldn't hurt me but you middle class folk should worry

    I am sure robert gibbs and the rest of the wrecking crew will spin this, I mean I know what the poll says but let me tell you what the truth is, everyone loves the president they are just mad at the complete horror that they had to live through for 8 years, I don't know how we all survived. This is just more reassurance for the president and he we continue to fight fight fight fight 8 years inherited inherited fight fight fight inherited 8 years of horror oh ya torture torture torture.

    January 25, 2010 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  20. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Well duh...of course the stimulus was mostly wasted. The Federal government is Too big and to plutocratic to be effective. IMHO the stimulus would never have been needed if the money had stayed in the taxpayers pockets to begin with.
    Cut spending, cut the size of government and thus receive a true tax cut in return.

    January 25, 2010 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  21. Dutch the Great

    I don't think the money's been wasted. I think the states are just holding it and not getting it out to the comminities that need it the most. Take Rep. Boehner for example who says stimulus money hasn't produced any jobs in his state of Ohio, when there were jobs created in his own district from stimulus money.

    January 25, 2010 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. Tim E

    Once again demonstrating that polls are based not upon knowledge but upon feelings, perceptions and capricious trivia. We would gain just as much insight into the workings of the minds of the electorate if we tabulated that portion of the population that knew how to fix umbrellas or dance in circles.

    January 25, 2010 08:36 am at 8:36 am |