February 9th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama's approval is high - but the stimulus isn't as popular

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/09/art.getty.obama.waves.jpg caption="The poll's release comes the same day President Obama heads out on the road to Elkhart, Indiana, to help promote his plan to jump-start the economy."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll suggests that three out of four Americans approve of the job Barack Obama's doing as President - but the economic stimulus package he's trying to push through Congress is not nearly as popular.

Seventy-six percent of those quesioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday give President Obama a thumbs-up when it comes to the way he's performing his duties, with 23 percent disapproving of the way Obama's handling his job as president.

The poll's release comes the same day President Obama heads out on the road to Elkhart, Indiana, to help promote his plan to jump-start the economy, and holds a prime time news conference from the White House to pitch the plan.

While the President puts on a full court press, the debate over the more than $800 billion bill, which includes increased government spending and tax cuts, appears to have split the public. A slight majority, 54 percent, favor the bill, with 45 percent opposed.

And there's a partisan divide. Three out of four Democrats support the bill, but that number drops to 51 percent for self-identified independents, and just 32 percent for Republicans. Nearly seven in ten Republicans questioned oppose the bill.

"Partisanship is alive and well - not just in the House and Senate, but in the rank-and-file as well," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The partisan split that has been a staple of American public opinion for decades is alive and well."

An $819 vbillion ersion of the stimulus bill passed the House of Representatives two weeks ago, with no Republican support: All 177 GOP lawmakers in the House who weighed in voted against the bill. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on a different version of the bill, which would include more tax cuts and less government spending. Democrats support the bill, but all but three Republican Senators appear to oppose the legislation.

Sixty-four percent of those polled say the current bill being debated in the Senate would help the economy a lot or somewhat, with 36 percent feeling that the package would not help the economy much or at all.

"The public may be lukewarm on the stimulus package because they only see limited benefits from it," Holland said. "Sixteen percent say it would help the economy a lot, but 48 percent foresee only some improvements if the bill passes."

Many Republican lawmakers argue that the bill is too expensive. It appears that argument may be working with Americans. Fifty-five percent of those questioned feel the price tag for the stimulus plan is too big, with three in ten saying the bill will spend the right amount of money and 13 percent feeling not enough money is in the legislation.

The survey indicates that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress do have some advantages in this political battle over the stimulus. Three out of four say that President Obama is doing enough to cooperate with Republicans in Congress, but only 39 percent feel that congressional Republicans are cooperating enough with the President.

Six out of ten approve of the way Democratic leaders in Congress are handling their jobs. But only 44 percent of those questioned approve of the way Republican leaders in Congress are performing. Overall, only 29 percent of the way Congress is handling its job, with 71 percent disapproving.

That's way below President Obama's 76 percent approval rating, which is higher than it has been in other recent national surveys.

"Other polls have shown Obama's approval rating in the mid to high 60s, but those polls also have 10-20 percent saying that they don't have an opinion on Obama. We have only 1 percent saying that they are undecided about Obama," says Holland.

Ninety-seven percent of Democrats approve of the way Obama's handling his duties as president. That drops to 76 percent for self-identified independents and 50 percent for Republicans.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Survey was conducted Saturday and Sunday, with 806 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for the overall sample and plus or minus 6.5 percentage points for the breakdowns by party preference.

Filed under: CNN poll • President Obama • stimulus plan
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. tyler dickerson

    if i could vote for the stimulus package i would because it is a really good idea for people to be able to have more options for a job. and not have to worry about getting fired or losing their house.

    February 9, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. Yamini from San Diego

    well… it is very well understood that

    1) The Governement HAS to intervene and reignite the economy
    2) The Dems are going to have Pork and barrel spending and push political agenda items like the Hollywood one.

    What is NOT likeable and appreaciated is ALL these MOTHAPUKKAS who complain about the PROBLEM (Stimulus) AND not pragmatically come up with what someone needs to fix and CUT down in that bill….

    The GOP is behaving like the regular idiots here – if you STEP UP and list what items need to be cut out and seek public support, I will be the first one to support and there will be tonnes of solution oriented folks!! Is anyone interested in NOT just politics there??? I should give credit to Obama for reaching out and trying to get something done…


    February 9, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Ernie in LA

    Obama is so used to getting his way. This is really getting to him. He will grow up a lot in 4 years. He is not in Chicago anymore.

    February 9, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Rachel in Nebraska

    Other polls say something different. Please CNN cover other network polls that are showing Americans are in favor of a stimulus package. I really think most Americans don't even understand how more spending can help improve and ignite he economy. Please people read articles written by economists, not politicians!! They say a bigger plan is needed with more spending. And they do not agree with the cuts the senate made. They cut out money to the states and education money. This is a big mistake--–

    February 9, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. E

    If people keep getting their opinions from Rush, of course they won't get behind it, propaganda works! It is so obvious they are arguing just to argue adn not because they have any real believe or thought process. The saddest part is so many people are so willing to believe what have been proven to be lies. Tax cuts will accomplish nothing, job creation will get money flowing again to people who will spend every penny they make, unlike the billionaire CEOs who just throw their millions into savings.

    Who cares if I get a tax cut when I will have no job and no salary because museum funding was decimated and spit on by Republicans?

    February 9, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  6. Gary

    We are living on a national credit card and leaving the bills for our children. This is both a Democrat and Republican problem. We need have no stimulus, cut spending, balance the budget and ride out this tough recession. Then over time we will grow slowly (but it will be real growth) and we can leave a stable, healthy economy for our children. Between the general budget, last summer's tax rebates, the TARP money, the proposed stimulus and the Iraq/Afghan war we'll be spending nearly $5 trillion dollars over 3 years, $2 to $2.5 trillion will be borrowed money. This is crazy. We are addicted to debt (like we are addicted to oil) and this stimulus will only make our economy weaker not stronger. Thats what the non-partisan CBO says and that's what leading economists know.

    February 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Kathy

    This stimulus plan is a joke and so his BHO. We'd probably have better odds taking 800 billion to Vegas. Let's just go ahead and gamble!!! We won't be around to have to pay it back.

    February 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Lou Workman

    I wish we had recall laws in Alabama. Shelby and Sessions would be first on the list. They are both unqualified to be Dogcatchers in Podunk Alabama. What sorry individuals. Alabama is a better state than these two geezers.

    February 9, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. Mark A. GoinsBey

    Since it seems from media coverage that the American people are not with President Obama on the stimulis bill, can we use President Obama's call for transparency. By this i mean set up a website site for each state with county breakdowns for virtual voting for approval or not on the stimulis. I think this will show the voice of the people who would like stand with the President's plan or against it.

    February 9, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Observant

    President Obama, please quit listening to the Republicans and listen to the people. I am trying to be supportive of you, however, the economy situation is becoming much worse. Apparently tax cuts did not work, so eliminate them. Penalize the large firms for outsourcing, let the banks get themselves out of their problems, because that what the common man is having to do; and give the stimulas funds to the taxpayers.

    February 9, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. SA in OO

    The obsession the media has with polls is a big part of the problem.

    "A slight majority, 54 percent, favor the bill, with 45 percent opposed"

    Instead of analyzing the merits and demerits of the plan, the media repeatedly takes the convenient out of running opinion poles. But these are the opinions of people who have not read one page of the document they are commenting on. At best they have heard the comments of politicians which are incomplete and often histrionic personal opinions of what they think about the bill. And even if these politician have read the entire bill – not a certainty by any means – their thoughts about whether it will work are just speculation. The situation we are in is unprecidented an the solutions are untried and uncertain.

    SO PLEASE – lets quit substituting polls for critical analysis of this most important legislation. Political commentators and journalists alike, either to the hard work of trying to present the iinformation the general public needs to understand the complex decisions we face as a country or shut up.

    February 9, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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