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. Taniel

    Obama's popularity will be a huge factor in 2010 races, and Democrats will have plenty to defend. These newly-released and detailed rankings of all the 2010 gubernatorial races show that a huge number of seats will be competitive next year – and Democrats will for once be on the defensive.

    February 9, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Rene C.

    I support the President and his stimulus plan. What I find ironic is that many who don't support the stimulus plan have not taken time to read the plan. Most particularly the gops appear to be making their decisions based on hear say and what they think is in the plan. Hopefully, the president can sign off on the bill and the country can begin recovering.

    February 9, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Larry

    "Everybody on the street in America understands that," said Sen. Richard Shelby, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. "This is not the right road to go. We'll pay dearly and we don't have another "fix"left when this doesn't work.

    Any one with any common since would have to agree that the Obama administration's $800 billion-plus economic stimulus effort will lead to what one called a "financial disaster."Huge debt is what got us here,more huge debt is going to make it worse.

    February 9, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. NrthNJ

    Is there going to be any kind of stimulus for the tax payers like last year's $600 minimum?I hope they do something soon.

    February 9, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Glenda

    I trust Obama to listen to experts, and use his intelligence to guide us. Where are the jobs and prosperity that should have been generated from the last 8 years of GOP policies? The GOP policies Do Not Align With ANY Economists suggestions for correction. They are misleading the american people for political gain. The GOP policies are the cause of this current crisises. Why would we want to continue their practices?

    February 9, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  6. Jesse

    Why not just have Washington give every American family a Million Dollars? Another thought why do'nt they just pay off every American's bills? Why does Washington or our Representatives have to make everything so darned hard? It seems like all of these people that represent us have no common sense. They keep giving huge sums of money to everybody in power, except us the common people. By common people I mean those that make less the $75 thousand a year.

    February 9, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  7. Axl

    It seems, the support for the stimulus depends entirely on the way the question is asked. Nobody likes wasteful spending and if the question is distorted and couched in those terms, the reaction is negative. If the question is asked in terms of jobs, the answer and support level is different.

    See ABC where 67% answered positively for the stimulus.

    February 9, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  8. In Houston, TX

    The stimulus plan should have been bigger. Obama and the Dems traded an effectual stimulus package for an attempt at bipartisanship. The republicans are playing politics with America's futrure. The republicans are gambling with America's future. Once this bill is pushed through congress. Obama and the Dems should initiate all out politcal war with republicans and crush them.

    February 9, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. Karen- Change is coming

    We need something to stimulate the economy and I say lets do it. So what we have 750B to a idiot President before who gave 350B to Wallstreet to buy coperate jets, 1M dollar office maker overs and countless other stuff we don't know about. Now we have a smart intelligent President who is trying to make a difference. The right wingers are not so right because it was the Republican party who drove this country in the ground. They didn't have the answers and refuse to get on board this President simply because he might just be right. Let's kick all the Republicans out of office in 2 years. We need a 60+ seat in Congress in order to get things done.

    February 9, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Media Loves obama No Matter What he Does

    As long as the mainstream media keeps gushing about him, his approval rating will remain high. Never has there been such positive coverage about a new president.

    February 9, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. BW

    Of course 97% of Democrats approve of Obama...he's a Democrat. They won't crucify their Messiah yet...but just wait! That poor guy is in for the political beating of his life...and from his own party.

    February 9, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Cindy, PA

    In what nation did you take this poll ????
    7 out of 10 where I work don't agree with this president anymore, and this economic stimulus package is going to do nothing, it's a failure, kiss the American jobs good bye.

    February 9, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. J

    Hell, nobody wants more debt, especially those too swept up in the last few years of super easy credit and deep in hock. HOWEVER, we don`t have any choice but to create jobs any way we can. Otherwise we`ll all be on unemployment till the gov`t is broke---- then what ??????

    February 9, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. regular american

    I don't want a president who only makes popular moves right now, I want him to do things that will make a difference and some times they will be unpopular. He understands economics so am prepared to trust him, that's why I voted for him.

    February 9, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Jill-In

    Our family is for the President's stimulus package and last week have emailed our Indiana Senators that we support it. No one can remake history and undo the wrongs that have brought our great country to this point no matter how many times a congressmn stands up in front of CSpan or News talk shows and attempt to do so. We, the citizens of the USA need to let our representatives know if we support this or not. If the senators and congressmen who have been in office for so many many years were so smart in the first place, maybe our country wouldn't be in this mess. You need to let them know what you want because, frankly, sometimes they just don't get it.

    February 9, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Tulsa L

    you don't know we're in a recession until it effects YOU.....to all those who still have jobs, health insurance, homes to live in, able to pay their heating bills, electricity, still able to feed your family and buy your medicine........then you don't feel the recession........there is NO recession as far as you are concerned.........so you don't want or feel the need for a stimulus package........for the rest of the people they needed this stimulus yesterday.......are they not as important as you are? Don't you care what happens to them, or are you selfish and just thinking about yourself.......well their problems will sooner or later be your problems so we all need to stand together and support one another........Republicans this mess we are in is because of our last president.......and did you do anything then to stop him from spend, spend, spend??????

    February 9, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Enlightened

    Where was steele's and the other rethuglicans outrage, opposition and obstructionism when bush was bankrupting this country, starting a war that was based on lies and ran up a debt higher than any former president?

    February 9, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. ginger

    Again, these polls do not include people who only use cell phones. I'm sure approval rating is much higher than anyone really knows.

    February 9, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Enlightened

    The GOP stimulus package = tax cuts for the rich only, cut out health care, education spending and anything that would help middle america.

    February 9, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. gt

    two years of democratic control of the house and senate has been a total disaster, barney frank has been a know it all jerk ,who has blame everyone and did nothing but make things better ,,,,,,

    February 9, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. obama all the way

    call it socialism, call it helping american families, call it a stimulus package, CALL IT ANYTHING YOU WANT TO, AMERICA NEEDS HELP, AND WE NEED IT NOW, STOP WITH THE FOOLISH LABLEING AND HELP US.

    February 9, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. James L.

    Right, President Obama does have the American people favor, because of his "change" message. IF the "stimulus package" were designed to help the American people then it would also hold the same level of favor from the people, however, since everyone is aware this package is NOT for the people it's only paid for by the people. NOT kewl our government gives the weathy more money. It sucks as a matter of fact!

    February 9, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  23. paul mooney

    his approval rating is up now, but in six months he is going to own this crisis so he better sit down now and really go over this "stimulus" with a group of economists before he rams it through Congress. this plan cannot work and history has shown that several times. it will take some time but the markets will correct themselves if left alone.

    February 9, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  24. Dont blame me

    CNN is NOT reporting the TRUTH here!!!!!

    The latest polls that I have seen show that ONLY 37% of those polled support THIS stimulus package!!!!

    This poll is flawed CNN is OBVIOUSLY only polling democrats.

    Come on CNN poll ME!!! I'll tell you what I thing of this piece of garbage.

    February 9, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Dawn

    That stimulas check last year, most people paid bills with, so where is that stimulating but the electric, water, gas, sewer. I guess they got stimulated.

    Every State in the Union is hurting, and anyone here say they are fine, that is total BS.

    I do know that this huge stimulas bill could help or not, but if you get one thing stimulate then it could be a start. I hope that people look out into your neighborhood and see the what was there 10 years ago and seeing a boarded up place, whether it is a small business or huge corperation, everyone here needs help.

    February 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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