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. TjayeInLA

    It's just because many Americans can't comprehend the idea that you have to spend money to make money. We have a poverty mentality and we don't all grasp the concept of the cycle of money.

    February 9, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Ohio Lady

    I'd like to know where my comment went.

    February 9, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |

    Just face it, the Repubs are scared that he's going to fix this mess faster than any other past president cleaning up a mess as big as this.

    Way to go Obama!!!

    February 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. John M in CA

    Legislators don't understand this bill, so I really don't care what the polls say about people who have never even read any of it.

    But one thing I know: if Hannity and Limbaugh are screeching, then I want it. That's the best measure of what we need to fix this country. Whatever they hate, I'm for.

    February 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Kristi

    Patience is what is needed not another stimulus package. Reminds me of Christmas a little – it doesn't matter how it is gift wrapped, what bow is placed on top. This package still puts the country deeper in debt and the tax payers will have to pay for it. Return to our roots – budget, cut up the credit cards, pay off debt and live within our means. That also includes the government offices – all of them. It is not a quick-fix, it will take time.

    February 9, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Bill_ MA

    The time has come to try new, bold ideas. Republicans have ruined this country with their trickle down crap. They want to give nothing but tax cuts to business. Perhaps that will create a job 10 years down the road. The republicans will then find a way to send the job overseas.We want work here now. Republicans do not put the good of the USA ahead of their selfish lifestyle.

    February 9, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. Loyal Democrat in MD

    CNN please post
    I support President Obama's plan b/c it will bring JOBS & income to those of us who are still trying to hold our heads above water after 8 years of failed GOP policies that help out only the "higher-ups."
    Let's give the President we elected a chance to do things HIS way!!!

    February 9, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. You Are Justifyably Stupid

    @Justified Cynic:

    Take your garbage somewhere else. We don't want to hear it. And speaking of justified. My vote was justified because this president has proven me right. He also proved America right for electing him.

    He's the best thing in Washington, and unfortunately for him he has a Congress that is so self-centered. John McCain lied and said he would work with him, and now look. If you voted for John McCain you are just as out of touch as he is.

    Thank you Mr. President for sticking to your guns. I know working with bird brains isn't easy, but we give you and A for trying.

    And to Justified Cynic–Please do us a favor and take a justified long vacation. Maybe you can meet GW in Crawford, you sound like him. We don't miss him and we won't miss you.

    February 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. ran

    If the republicans would work with the President/Democrats instead of their usual obstructionism then we could get out of the mess Bush/Republicans got us into. Again the republicans are more concern with party/power hoping things don't improve so they can regain power again. Guys if things don't get better you will be the ones I will hold accountable for it not Obama.

    February 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Ron , West Coast

    Mr. Obama`s favorable rating is backed by 75% of the american public. 51% of the american public are behind the recovery package. What part of " Majority ", Does`nt CNN understand ?..... Since when does the minority take precedence over the majority ? CNN , seems to of late be more out of touch with reality than Faux News !
    I guess it`s because CNN has hired all of those right wing, " wing – nuts "........

    February 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Len

    I submiitted a very good comment. Why are you blocking my comments and not posting them?

    February 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Franky

    "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."

    You know, even I and some of the boys are surprised that my boy doesn't pull a Bush. I mean, he has it all good and quite frankly, that's all he needs. It is ironic he's letting the "system" play out. One Conservative over here did say it can hurt him because it can look like he may not try at all but if he does, he could kill people if he wants, LOL!! He even said while you question what's in the bill, people are not questioning my boy...some are surprised he's not taking advantage.

    February 9, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Eyes of Texas are Upon You

    Yea right – CHANGE WHO CAN BELIEVE IN? Certainly not me! I knew all along he was full of himself!

    February 9, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Unstimulated

    What does that tell you?

    February 9, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. cal

    Please give the polls a rest. You don't poll enough people for this to be accurate anyway why do it? Looks like somebobdy in these polling jobs need to find something else to do, this is so inaccurate.

    February 9, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Virginia

    Well, duh!!! No one likes the stimulus, unless you were one of the fools who formulated it...and that includes Nobama!

    February 9, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. truthsayer

    The main stream corporate media like CNN, is once again carrying water for the Republicans

    February 9, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Flo

    The number will change after his townhall meeting. I can't see why CNN would put a negative spin on the stimulus vs President Obama. He still has a high approval rating for a man caught up in this mess left behind by the previous administration. CNN didn't discuss the negative rating for Republicans in congress who will do anything to appose the president for political games. Pres. Obama is during his job as the American people expect..................#1 get the economy moving again #2 protect homeowners from further pain of losing their home #3 help those who have been forclosed on get back into the game.

    February 9, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    [Insert GOP rant ignoring facts and evidence in favor of believing the world is the way they want it to be]

    February 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Lush Limprick is the RNC Chairman

    Just shows that most Americans see Obama as being bi-partisan and the repubs partisan agenda of making sure "Obama fails" is not working.

    Voters are taking notes.

    February 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Chris from NY

    It is a lie. It is the media that has hyped up this whole thing about the stimulus bill. People need help and they need it like yesterday. All these pundits who sit in their high and mighty chairs to criticize Obama all got a job. The congress does too. It's only many on the main street that doesn't have a job and have no prospect as to when they will. So it's easy to sit and criticize when you are able to pay your bill and know where your next pay checks are coming from. But it's even harder when you don't have such prospects.

    February 9, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Franky

    "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."

    Alright, that's it!! That's over 50% on all three parties...I gotta say, pretty good with these bumpy roads, huh? LOL!! Tell my boy to say this at his primetime news conference...

    "Dear, my fellow Americans...if you don't approve of this bill then I want you dead! I want your family dead and your pet dead! Dead, dead!! O.K, thank you and God bless you and this country"

    That will work, time to put some more fear into the American people, LOL!!

    February 9, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Mike Dallas

    I feel compelled to point out to the repubs that there is a new "decider" in town. Since he was voted in by a 7% lead of the voters you would do well to realize repubs only have a voice if the "decider" says so.

    February 9, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. pat

    Like many people, I can't fully support the stimulus because I don't know whether it will work or not. I'm no expert. However I do trust President Obama. He has elicited advice from the best and we should suipport him in this. I'm disapponted, again, in our Republican Confressmen and Senators.. They were so quick to agree to the TARP which has proven pretty much a failure and lacks accountability. Are they really putting our interests first or using this for political posturing?. Have they forgot ten that their leadership hasn't worked? Are they overlooking the fact that the business comunity that's supposed to save us all ineeds government help? FDR spent a lot of money and it worked. What other example can we follow?

    February 9, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. yuri

    Then what's wrong with the stimulus package? A general mega-star popularity, apparently, does not translate into high approval ratings in all of Obama's plans. GOPS did it again! May be they are jealous of him. Shelby, in his southern Alabaman drawl, spells doom for the Dems' plan, pretty nicely, but not convincingly. No amount of readers' views can maka these GOPs budge an incs from their inexplicaby stubborn and moronic positions.

    February 9, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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