January 27th, 2010
05:30 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority says stimulus has not helped middle class

Washington (CNN) – Only a quarter of Americans think the federal stimulus plan has helped the middle class, while a majority say it has helped bankers and investors, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday morning indicates that 25 percent of the public believes the stimulus has benefited the middle class. A third of the people questioned feel the stimulus has helped low-income Americans, with just over four in ten saying the plan has benefited business executives. A majority, 54 percent, feel the stimulus has helped bankers and investors.

Full results (pdf)

"Opinions on the economic stimulus bill are colored by the perception that it has helped fat cats but not ordinary Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It's possible that the belief that the stimulus bill helped bankers and CEOs is due to the public confusing the stimulus bill with the various bailout bills that were passed at roughly the same time last year."

The survey also indicates that only a quarter feel the stimulus has helped people in their own community, with three in 10 saying it has hurt people in their community and 45 percent feeling the plan has had no effect.

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 $862 billion. No Republicans in the House of Representatives and only three in the Senate voted in favor of the bill. The stimulus was initially believed to have a price tag of $787 billion, but Tuesday the Congressional Budget Office hiked its forecast for how much the stimulus will add to the nation's deficit, raising its estimate by $75 billion.

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 Polls • Stimulus
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. Obama = WORST president EVER

    All the middle class does is pay for everything. More government, more taxes, more freebies, more OBAMA.

    January 27, 2010 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. chill

    If peopel don't think the stimulus helped them, maybe they should voluntarily pay the extra taxes they would have been paying for 2009. And by the way, so middle class people got laid off too and haven't refused unemployment or even food stamps. That's what 2/3 of the stimulus bill paid for. And nothing of consequence to banks from that bill. That was TARP, passed under a Republican president and actions by the Fed under a Republican- Bernanke.

    January 27, 2010 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  3. Jerry

    Not helped is an understatement and it is very clear that Obama is hoarding most of the money for re-election time

    January 27, 2010 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  4. JLM

    If we are concerned about the middle class we will stop sending decent jobs overseas, and replacing those jobs with slave wages jobs.

    January 27, 2010 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  5. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    As far as the polls go, remember, 46% of voters thought John McCain had a magic pen to cut spending. The stimulus is working, but Fox Spy Network will not acknowledge it to their viewers. It is a shame that Obama is caving into pressure from the party of "no!" and the blue dogs.

    January 27, 2010 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  6. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    A contributor to Fox's anti government Spy Network is about to become Bubba's love slave in prison.

    January 27, 2010 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  7. Roger Spooner

    CNN coverage of the stimulus needs to give equal attention to the tax cuts and benifits enhanched by it. What has been the tax benifits to a family earning $60000 per year? What has been the unemployment benifits to some one whose benifits would have ended during the last eight months? How much more has someones encreased SS benifits added up to since the stimulus? What about student loans? Food stamps? Put these elements of the stimulus package into numbers people can relate to and understand then ask what benifits they may have recieved. Also ask what the balance of the IRA or 401 K was in Feb and what it is now. Then ask if they benifitted from the stimulus.

    January 27, 2010 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. W l Jones

    The stimulus helping some body if drive through any city all you see is none stop cars all day and half of the night.

    January 27, 2010 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  9. Dutch the Great

    If you're a middle class worker and still have a job, the stimulus has helped you.

    January 27, 2010 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. Reggie

    Majority also says Obama is NOT helping this nation!!!

    January 27, 2010 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  11. AXH

    That's exactly right! This administration is just spending us into a ditch that we won't be able to get out of; they are so full of themselves and they "think" they know what the American people want! Well, the American people want JOBS! Not this green job crap, but real industry JOBS! Instead they are meeting behind closed doors, wheeling and dealing with a health care bill NO AMERICAN WANTS!! IF its SO great, why all the hiding?

    Give me a break, VOTE this fools out of office this Fall!

    January 27, 2010 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. jp,michigan

    Temporary jobs donot help middle america. We ( the taxpayer, the few that work and pay taxes) help banks and financial institutions, who in turn didnot help small business, who would be creating the jobs americans need. So who did benefit by the stimulus money?

    January 27, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. southerncousin

    Of course it hasn't helped the middle class, it was not suppossed to, that was an Obama lie. This was a payback for the corrupt unions and leftist community organizing frauds that helped George Soros put his puppet in office. Remember, Soros bragged how he made billions of dollars in the recession that he, moveon.org. and their media loyalists helped create and Obama is the fruit of all of that money.

    January 27, 2010 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  14. D. England

    Our state of Alabama has greatly benefited from the stimulus program and without it our state would be suffering. I don't believe everyone knows the aid it has presented for all of us.

    January 27, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  15. REG in AZ

    Do they really believe that they can say anything while they do whatever they want; being focused on satisfying Special Interests and a select few, who strongly support them, as they just attempt to manipulate public opinion with subterfuge? I guess they do as Bush-Cheney did it for eight years and the Republican Party stubbornly supported all of it and now they continue with 'more of the same'. The Republicans simply can't be trusted as all they ever give the people is rhetoric while they arrogantly pursue their own agenda for the benefit of a few and the Democrats are floundering, being partly stalemated by the Republicans' aggressiveness and a lot by their own inefficiency. God, I wish the Democrats would get their act together, stop bickering among themselves and concentrate on solving the problems that are holding the country down. Heaven knows that if we ever give the reins back to the Republicans, returning to 'more of the same' would be a catastrophe.

    January 27, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  16. Meili Kronenfeld

    While I don't think the stimulus has helped the rich and corporations I don' t feel that its really helped the middle-class. It has helped more lower class. What people don't realize is the once middle to upper class are now the moderate – lower end of the scale. We struggle with increased costs from utilities, food and day to day expenses while our pay stays the same. We still make too much to meet the income guidelines for any assistance even though thoes income guidelines have gone up.

    January 27, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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