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. Wanda

    At least he is listening to the common people which is more than any other President has done and he really.........listens -
    he doesn't want to sit there and drown in Washington's ideas –
    the Repub's took a stand because they are falling down over and over again – they should thank him for giving them the chance to recoup a little dignity recently - he has done them a BIG favor –
    however there are a few that just will NEVER GET IT!

    February 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. katiec

    Well, other polls I have seen show the American people do support the stimulous/job creation plan, but are upset by the politics as usual.
    The republicans are doing their best to destroy our economy and ignoring the welfare of millions of Americans for the sake of party first and outdated, irresponsible, policies that have gotten us into this mess to begin with. They have almost destroyed our country and the world and now they are "experts" on the economy? If they continue their un-American activities they will bring us into another Republican Great Depression.

    February 9, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Tulsa L

    P.S. – the men and women in congress, they do not feel this recession , and they will not feel the effects of this recession, so they do not know what we the people here in america are feeling..........the only way they will feel it is when the elections come up again and we vote them out.................all of you people who have lost your homes, Republican John McCain still has 7 homes.........but he doesn't want a stimulus package that will help all of us out here by opening up more jobs for us........so people in Az......remember this when he runs for office again.......

    February 9, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Maggie from Virginia

    Thank goodness thinkers like Larry and Shelby are the minority. This is a movement. A movement away from the GOP stupor.

    February 9, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Deborah

    I have a hard time with your Polls CNN!

    They seem to always turn out to be wrong!

    I will say that everyone I have talked with lately is scared to death!

    And they don't believe for one red second the Left wing Spending Plan is going to do anything but tremendous harm to future generations!

    I would also say that BO is not very popular right now...

    Where is the Leadership?????????

    February 9, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Lee Bartholomew

    Thats because he has to sell it. He's been letting the Repukes take control o f the spin. They've had their 8 years to muck it up. Now it's our turn

    February 9, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  7. Justified Cynic

    Face it, Obama people. You've been had! Suckered! Bamboozled!
    You thought this lightweight was going to have all the answers and give you "change" (though you never bothered ask him what that meant). Now that he is in, some of you are wising up and realizing that your "Messiah," –your "change guru"–has no new ideas at all. He is just a common, run-of-the-mill, pork-dealing politician who sees wreckless and wasteful spending and government dependency as a form of job security for himself and his cronies. Though some of you still look at him with dreamy eyes, eventually even the dumbest and most gullible of you will wise up.

    February 9, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Lori

    President Obama will always have high approval ratings because he is the first President that speaks to the people and listens to what they want and need (not what the top 10% want like the Republicans).

    As for the stimulus... why don't we just give this plan a try. The Republicans for 8 years ran this country down to the ground and now they want to tell us that we should take their advice on what to do with the economy? Give me a break. I am not an idiot.

    I trust President Obama and the Democrats way more than I will ever trust the Republicans.

    February 9, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. Alex Badme, Albuquerque, NM

    This guys a genius. Never had ecnomics but he's obviously much smarter then someone who has????

    Not listening to them or the American people. PELOSI is playing him like a fiddle. Were doomed as the politicians on both side keep telling us.

    Self sustaining recession. Its going to get worse. dont spend dont spend. Then no one spends. See told you. It got worse. I'm a genius. smarter then any economist.

    February 9, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  10. Rob Kole

    I am not an economist but unless this stimulus package puts money in my pocket and the pockets of other americans how does anyone expect us to buy the goods/products that the companies being bailout will make?

    February 9, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Ray Fisher

    A major impediment to any stlumulus or recovery is business as a whole as everything is slipshod, dowbsized or substandard and the nation realizes that business will first recoup losses and lost profits long before any real recovery can begin. From the corner grocery to the big box store greed will eat most of any stimuli causing inflation and profit-taking till we bleed!!! The past several years have degraded into a free-for-all profit at any cost business environment which has destroyed our nation's economy and exists to this day. Nixon tried wage and price freezes after Vietnam and Ford distributed W.I.N. buttons but to no avail as our future will only become better with a cash economy which takes years!!!

    February 9, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Jack in DC

    This article is inaccurate. The Gallup has 65% approval rating for the way the president is handling the "ECONOMY" not overall job performance which is higher.

    February 9, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. jaye

    The polls are higher in favor of the bill than opposed.
    Depends on who gets polled and who dosen't.
    I guarantee anyone that has lost their job and can't feed their family supports the bill, and anyone with wealth opposes it.
    How many opposing naysayers are out of work? I say NONE!

    February 9, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. FreeNLovIt

    Our economy NEEDS a surge, just like the surge for Iraq, in order to apply pressure to a global economy, weighing 100 trillion dollars. It is worth it!! No GUTS no Glory. Have it the Red States' way, WE will NEVER have the internet. They did not accept Clinton's stimulus package inthe 90's, why would they accept one now?

    February 9, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Sam Herlong

    As Obama goes, so goes his policies. All rotten.

    February 9, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  16. Pam

    I approve what the President is doing and I approve what he is trying to do!

    Next year, a prominent Republican Senator from my state will be up for re-election. I will be voting for whomever runs against him

    February 9, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Bob in Pa

    I guess I'm in that 23%. We all know he isn't listening to the people, otherwise he would have dropped this white elephant of an bill already.

    He knows the bill is mostly pet projects and full of pork to gain the votes of certain members of Congress, yet he does nothing about it. He campaigned on "Change" and "No Pork" but yet he has followed the same path as those that came before him.

    February 9, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. tim

    Support for the stimulus plan is falling not because of Obama, but becasue of these lugnut republicans that got on Sunday Morning talk shows and claimed foul, foul, foul with this bill.

    Hello! A stimulus bill is a spending bill... DUH! Obama is just trying to get things back into order from the last 8 years of nonsense.

    I like Barney Frank's comment on Meet the Press... I believe he said that back in '01, '02, '03, etc, the Republicans rammed bills down the Democrat's throats and expected them to either fall into line or be banished.... Now, the republicans are crying foul that they don't get invited to the table to help.

    I don't want a tax break if I don't have a job to begin with.

    February 9, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Richard

    Obama is the only President dumber than Bush. This bail out could pay for 90% of all mortgages in America, but instead it is spent on PORK projects for the democrats.

    February 9, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Fan of Common Sense

    Just one more indication that Obama was elected for his NOVELTY.....not for his ideas or intellect. (It's going to be a long four years, folks.)

    February 9, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Gerda Edwards

    His stimulus plan is only getting 45% disapproval because the people who it will affect the most either aren't polled because they're under 18, or aren't even born yet.

    If we could ask the people it will burden with this debt, ....

    But we can still enjoy our Wiis, 3-car garages, granite countertops, cell phones, and computers. Thanks, kids and grandkids!

    February 9, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Mack

    If you fail to plan, plan to fail. Our fiscal Republicans surely missed the boat on their opportunity. So now their becoming the people's watchdog on spending that they couldn't control. Our banks, infrastructure, jobs and our economy has fallen to an all-time low. Consumer confidence is nonexistence. Yet while no administration has ever faced such a crisis, they (Republicans) after years of failures and standing in lockstep in the hopes that this effort fail as well. Who's interests are these people serving; the American public who elected them or their own party ideology.

    February 9, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Angie in Pa

    I For one Trust President Obama and the Democrats, it will be along time Coming before I ever Trust the Republicans again! and according to the Polls and talk on the Street IM NOT ALONE!

    February 9, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. Alan

    If we listened to polls then the following would happen;

    1 – Abortions would not be allowed
    2 – There would be no gay marriage
    3 – The IRS would not exist
    4 – We would have UFO's landing in public

    Get the point.

    February 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Gerda Edwards

    Lori @ 1:06 "President Obama will always have high approval ratings because he is the first President that speaks to the people and listens to what they want and need..."
    Wow! I can actually somewhat agree with you on that! Kind of like when a child asks for candy for dinner and the "parent" says, "Of course, because that is what you want and 'need.'"

    And then the child gets to "vote" for more parents like that. Cool! Please pay my mortgage! How about the car loan? Can I get "free" health care, too? And since food is more of an essential than health care, why doesn't the gov't feed me as well? Things will be great!!!

    February 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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