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. Max


    Here is why I'm not willing to give this a try. They are gambling with $800 BILLION that does not exist, while we're already a nation in debt. This isn't a plan that, if it fails, we can look back and just go "Whoops, we won't do that again". It's a plan that is poised to cripple the nation for decades, should it prove unsuccessful.

    Not just that, but this sort of plan was already tried (under a Republican administration, no less), and didn't work. Bailouts don't work! We need to stop falling for the same trick over and over, and Congress needs to stop being rushed into voting for drastic bills that they don't have time to read over.

    February 9, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    His approval rating will follow the popularity of his policies. He has lousy ideas and has been trying to intimidate Republicans to go along with them. He is looking for cover in "bi-partisanship" but he won't get it. If the "stimulus" package in its current form is approved by the senate it will be by a very narrow margin that can't be considered "bi-partisan" and when the economy is worse off in two years he can expect to take all of the blame for the lousy economy and ballooning national debt.

    February 9, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. John in Northern NY

    We all Know that Obama has zero responsibility for the economic crises. We all should know that we will enter a Depression, or whatever they want to call it, whether we have a stimulus plan or not.
    That being said his concept of a stimulus plan is not the way it was carried out by Pelosi and Reid. They stabbed Obama in the back. HIs plan was responsible either of theirs was not. The stimulus plan is THE most important (Bank and Auto were waste of money) because it will engage the widest spectrum of common people to be able to work and pay for needs.
    But the depression is coming and those cards have already been played.

    February 9, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. alvino

    Justified cynic-

    The lightweight left Washington in January, so now we have an intelligent president.

    I see that "pork" is the Limbaugh word of the day. Nice try, but your obstructionism is not working.

    February 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Jennie

    Let's take a look at the Republicans who are literally ignoring we need help now! They would approve trillions for a war & they rebuilding another country but not support helping us. Are they out of touch? We spent 8 years going down hill do they want to gain respect than stop playing games with peoples lives. Maybe they need to go without insurance and paycheck til they decide its time to do something so we save oue economy. I hope they stop being bullheaded and start caring. Our President is willing to do sometning why can't they!

    February 9, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Renee

    I don't know who you're polling that supports the idiocy of this "payback for electing Barack" stimulus joke, but it sure isn't me. This package is an insult and slap in the face to every American looking for work, and struggling in this economy.

    February 9, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. peakarack

    I think Hillary should be our President.

    February 9, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Diana Ewing NJ

    If Sen. Richard Shelby, knows so much, why was he not working on something while Bush was still in office and offering it up the President to consider... He and John McCain, Lindsey Grahma, and Vitter... you know the senator who needed the condoms and then made fun of them being in the package... should have come up with the RIGHT PLAN... if they knew so much.

    February 9, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Debby

    806 people come on. Come you have more people working at CNN than your polls.

    February 9, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. Who Are These People?

    The 23 percent disapproving of how Obama is handling his job are the same idiots who held up Bush in the 20 percentiles for a good job approval rating. Who are these people?

    February 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Ex-Republican Gal

    I support the president and his plan. I wish the Republicans would stop the nastiness. It's not helping anyone. Tax cuts will kill us right now. What good is a tax credit on a new home when you barely have a job? Local governments are the quickest way to get the money flowing yet they are complaining that these local and state governments can not be trusted to do it right. What a joke since it's coming from the people that brought us into this mess to begin with.

    February 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Matthew, Detroit

    barack is a really ineffective leader.

    February 9, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. MZ

    If we, and the media, start judging Obama on the content (or lack of content) of his policies, and less on the great color of his skin, whiteness of his smile, or the color of his swimming trunks, he'll be a one term President.

    February 9, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. ellington7

    Anyone with the ability to reason should know that the republicans will do anything they can to stop this president from succeding because that keeps them in the dog house. It's pathetic! All they've done is run our economy and country into the ground for 8 years, supporting every bill and policy GWB put forth, now they want to tell us that their on our side? What kind of voodoo are they selling? The bottom line is this, republicans want the things out of the stimulus bill that will create the most jobs, and put in things that are proven not to work. This will then stagnate our economy, and give them the right to say "we told you so". These people cannot be trusted with anything. Sometimes I feel as if there a counter government in themselves that are working against us rather than for us. Don't you think that sometimes?

    February 9, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. danielle

    Obama is in a hard place. As our new president he has some major task to accomplish at the moment. Not many presidents could say they had major issue to deal with right when they entered their presidency. But, anyways, he cannot have everyone fully agree with him or what he has to store. Obama will do what he thinks it right for our country. If you are with him or not he ultimately has the power and decision. The citizens can only hope he is going to do the right thing for the United States.

    February 9, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Oh! The Irony

    President Obama haters are hilarious. No knowledge, no research...just hate.

    February 9, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. llim

    Enough of GOPs. They are not experts. If their plans are so good, why didn't they help Bush in the past?

    February 9, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Melody Chapin

    President Obama needs to be commended for his performance as President. His stimulus plan also needs to be given an opportunity to be implemented and tried. More and more people are being laid off from work and homes forclosed. President Obama has prioritized by appropriately addressing this crisis. Continued opposition by those not agreeing with his plan is contributing to the ongoing crises. People are losing their jobs and homes. Something needs to be done now. Let the President do his job.

    February 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. No Hillary = No Obama

    Well, wasn't Obama's election just a popularity contest anyway? So what do you expect. Give it time.

    February 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Annette

    I only change I see so far is a new wolf in the same sheep’s clothing.

    The fear tactics being used on both sides of the isle is insane. Blue or Red everyone on the hill is just a bunch of rich selfish bullies not looking out for anything other than their own hides and special interest.

    February 9, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. llim

    Think about this:

    If Government do not help the banks and let them collapse. Americans will lose hard earned savings and retirement funds.
    Is that GOPs really wants?
    They are just MORONS who tried to sway "unlearned" Americans for their own political benefits. See, they are setting up their ground in this timing when people are sufferring.

    February 9, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Mari

    President Obama was elected by a huge majority, and thus, he has a MANDATE, FROM WE, THE PEOPLE!

    Both the Democrats and Republicans MUST work together find a way to set aside FAILED ideas and ideologies and their egos!

    The GOPers, still do not GET what America shouted loud and clear in November 2008 "WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF POLITICS AS USUAL!" STOP THE INFIGHTING!

    Obama inherited the Bush Disaster, and he needs everyone's help to re-ignite our economy! Let's not forget America, that for EIGHT YEARS BUSH & THE GOP GAVE LARGE TAX CUTS TO THE WEALTHY, AND LOOK AT THE RESULTS!


    Rebuilding our roads and schools, and when those who are in construction, who sell cement, wood, etc., get going so will the rest of us!

    Our infrastructure is crumbling........how can we be the "greatest nation on earth" with our bridges, schools, roads, etc., falling apart!



    February 9, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Stimulus Plan

    Ok, this should be the stimulus plan. We have roughly 250M U.S citizens. With an unemployment rate of 8%, this equals roughly 20M folks. This latest stimulus plan is about $850B. If you just send checks to everyone who is unemployed, this comes to about $42,500 per person. We could issue checks for half of this ($21,250) right away. Than monitor which of these folks gets a job. If you don't get a job after six months, than you get your second check. Some folks would get jobs, so there second check would be a first check for anyone else who becomes unemployed later on.

    February 9, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Renee

    Obama has done one or two good things since his inauguration...wait....a minute...Yeah...Lily Ledbetter. The rest of his Presidency, thus far, is an unmitigated disaster. I'd actually like to see the man succeed, but I fear he's in over his head.

    February 9, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. terryrayc

    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

    The right wingers are not so right because it was the Republican party who drove this country in the ground.
    (Nope The attacks on America did this, and had Bill done his job and taken out Ben Laden when we had him in his sights the attacks would not have happened)

    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.
    (How about you tell the Dems in cogress that spending 6 Billion to insure Honey bees, 250+ billion to buy chairs for ONE office, or 1/4 a billion to help buy film isn't going to do anything but get them reelected. How about a bill that will help AMERICA)

    February 9, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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