January 27th, 2010
05:30 AM ET
4 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. lifelong democrat

    How many jobs were created for those field mice in San Francisco that received not less than $13 million from Porkulus Bill? ABUSE OF POWER by democrats in congress, senate and WH is enough to make a crocodile cry in shame. We'll take care of these abusers come November, 2010.

    January 27, 2010 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  2. Mlhall

    The reason for this is because the News Media is so misleading. If you plant the seed, it will grow, add fertilizer and it will over take any thing it comes in contact with. That is the way the News Media works they are not interest in good news only what sells. If it a lie so be it. Polls are not my opinion, but the News Media say most of the America people, when did you asked most of the America people? Never, most of it is may up stuff.

    January 27, 2010 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  3. JimmyfromNewYork

    One-third of the stimulus wasn't "spent" – it was an immediate tax cut for those of us who pay taxes. Another third was for extension of Unemployment benefits, COBRA and the like – what the MAJORITY said were important to them. The last third is not all 'spent' and what has been spent has gone toward shovel-ready, and not-so-shovel-ready projects.

    Imagine the doughnut hole we'd be in if we had the Republicans in power this past year: it would make Gerald Ford's W.I.N. (Whip Inflation Now) program look like a Harvard Program. Don't worry, America, with unlimited Corporate campaign spending you will get exactly what you deserve from the next Republican administration.

    January 27, 2010 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  4. southern cousin

    This is no surprise is it. The only ones this "stimulus" money helped is the left wing organizations and/or the unions. That is what it was designed for by the Obozo administration.

    January 27, 2010 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  5. Ren from Baltimore

    The "stimulus" program has kept people in teaching jobs, police jobs, and health-care jobs. It has created a large number of construction jobs, and kept those companies from going under.

    It is difficult to use "cost avoidance" as a positive-the effect that a program has on avoiding other costs, such as the effect of teaching on improving lives and opportunities or the effect of road repairs on avoiding costly automobile repair bills. People think, Well, I would have done home-schooling of some sort, or Well, I would have driven around those potholes or taken another route to work. You didn't need to spend the money fixing these things, so I did not benefit, so you wasted the money.

    What is the problem with accepting the real benefits of the stimulus funds?? No, it has not created all the jobs or market forces we need, but that is not all the fault of the stimulus programs-which, by the way, are designed to be rolled out over three years-not a matter of a few short months.

    January 27, 2010 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  6. Mike, formerly from Syracuse

    Well, Republicans knew this wouldn't work, but the liberals just had to spend money on pork. Time to vote them all out in November.

    January 27, 2010 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  7. Rightsaid

    How would anyone know where we would be without the various stimulus packages?

    January 27, 2010 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  8. Angus McDugan

    It was not designed to help the middle class. It was designed to help Obama and the democrats.

    January 27, 2010 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  9. David

    In fact, the stimulus has HURT the middle class and increased unemployment. The administration believed that the stimulus (given unconditionally) will help the economy and the people.
    But, given that these are big bank's people working for big banks' interests, with a president whose knowledge of the economy is zero, they did not do anything for the middle class (and for the poor, as well). We need an atmosphere that will support small and medium businesses expanding, giving jobs, and helping middle class families. "Class war" rhetorics "a la community organizers" will never help in a real sense, it serves as protest (which made the president a good "candidate") but does not help in the "real economy" and "real social politics," which makes the president's performance as a president much worse than as a candidate.

    January 27, 2010 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  10. how useful?

    Based on the facts available so far, public opinion (at least in the sample for these polls), is clearly way off track – how about considering why that may be the case, and providing some of the facts? ARRA in particular (what this survey is about) was targeted to the middle and lower income, not for bankers etc at all, and most of the impact is expected (was always expected) to come later.

    January 27, 2010 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  11. Gordon Shumway

    The longer Obama is in office, the smarter and stronger the Carter presidency seems to be, in comparison..........

    January 27, 2010 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  12. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Actually, the "stimulus" has helped almost no one–all of of it that's not in the form of a tax reduction is money that's going to have to be recovered by taxes at some future date. In effect, that portion of the "stimulus" is just a process of moving money around, from those who earned it to those who, most likely, didn't, in ways that pleased Democratic politicians.

    This is called "redistributing the wealth," one of Mr Obama's stated goals.

    January 27, 2010 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  13. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Of course not. It is obvious to me now that I am starting to fall out of love with Obama. I remember my diary entry the day I first saw Barack.

    "Dear Diary, Today I met the neatest guy. He is so dreamy. I don't know very much about him but he has me in a tizzy. I know it is too soon but I am going to say it. I LOVE HIM! There, I said it and I don't care if the whole world knows."

    OK, I was blind drunk on him not being Bush and did not care to educate myself to find that he was in fact the most liberal member of the senet. Oh well... What can you say about love and what it does to people?

    I AM STARTING TO GET OVER HIM NOW.

    January 27, 2010 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  14. joe smith

    and that is precisely why oil per barrel will continue to inch higher; afterall, oil is one commodity that is bought everyday by millions of people/governments, and the tax generated is the underpinnings of major economys; think about it, if oil were $20/barrel, the loss of tax revenue would further cripple our enonomy..thats' why $85/barrel will be the norm, sooner, not later..that is the hidden stimulus..

    January 27, 2010 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  15. Marie Laveaux

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the bailout money, or TARP, was for big businesses, unlike the stimulus money, which went to state governments. I also seem to remember that the TARP was signed into law by then -President Bush. If that is the case, it would appear to me that the people polled are clueless. It is very sad that many Americans are shockingly ignorant of the facts and so blinded by politcal ideology. Such people are ripe for the picking by the dishonest men and women who dare to call their chicanery "patriotism".
    CNN, PLEASE POST MY COMMENT!

    January 27, 2010 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  16. mike

    as long as factories keep closing and the work goes over seas there
    will be high unemployment this is not going to be a quick fix issue
    and every person in this country is going to feel it because it is
    the domino effect and for people who think low taxes is going
    to solve the problem just stay in your house and don't walk down
    your street when there is no law enforcement and if you think this
    problem is going to go away think a again this is the global economy

    January 27, 2010 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  17. stormerF

    Build a boradwalk,replace sand on beaches,study pig farm odor,resurface a golf course,Where are the so called long term jobs? Billions wasted on education project that do not work like no child left behind. Freeze budget spending,but only the miniscule parts,and keep spending 1.8 trillion a year,What the hell is happening in Washington? Are they Politicans that frickin Dense?

    January 27, 2010 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  18. Silence Dogoode

    DUH! We need to quit governemtn funded welfare. Please read and follow the US Constitution....

    January 27, 2010 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  19. found work without help of stimulus or obama

    Obamais a joke, his policies are crap and his direction that he is taking America is down hill fast. Obama is an idiot for this and should be impeached. Idependents need to show their strength and send a STERN message to Obama in 2010 that we are tired of him and those in washington. Vote Them Out.

    January 27, 2010 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  20. Mark S.

    in 1500 the majority would say that the earth was flat. The opinions of misinformed people only demonstrates how misinformed they are, and has no bearing on the truth or falsehood of the underlying question.

    January 27, 2010 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  21. Big Mowma

    What also hasn't helped the middle class or anyone else is the $2.3 TRILLION dollars Rumsfeld announced the Pentagon LOST on 9/10/2001, 1 day before 9-11. Why has everyone forgotten that?

    January 27, 2010 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  22. Alan

    Oh no these people are just WRONG! The stimulus plan has created 2 million jobs and we are now in recovery.

    I know this not because unemployment is at 10% and not the 8% promised. I know this not because we are still seeing record foreclosures. I know this because my president says it and that is all I need to hear. If he says we are in recovery and Americans are going back to work, then dad-gummit, we are in a recovery and Americans are going back to work!!!

    January 27, 2010 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  23. Right Leaning Independent

    I think it helped out Obama's supporters!! BTW, remember his pledge to stop NO BID contracts. Well he has broken that one with a $25 million NO BID contract awarded on Jan 4th to Cheechi & Company, a democratic campaign supporter!! There is not a promise that he made that he will not break!! And he hopes we should believe what he is going to say tonight....!!!!!!

    January 27, 2010 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  24. Keith in Austin

    At present there is $500B in unspent stimulous money. Why not return it to the American people?

    When something isn't working STOP repeating the same thing! Although this seems like a no brainer to most, no Liberal Politition would ever return our tax dollars once they have it in their dirty, greasy hands. This is especially true regarding the likes of; Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Schumer, Dodd and of course Barry the false Messiah!

    November can't come soon enough!

    January 27, 2010 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  25. Fair is Fair

    100% said porkulus accomplished what it was intended for – payback to Obama supporters.

    January 27, 2010 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
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