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. elsie

    If the popularity of the package is going down it is a direct result of the media coverage beating it down.Less than 10% were a issue but the way it is covered leads the dumbed down Americans to believe it is all bad. Please stop it media, you to CNN.

    February 9, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  2. 8 years of President Obama

    This is going to be a long 8 years for the Republicans. I wonder who will succeed Obama in 2016? Kaine? Sebelius? Webb?

    February 9, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. eliot from chicago

    After the President's 48 hour rebutal to Sen. Shelby's barking, the polls will change.

    February 9, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. carlo

    Again, CNN, LIE. You're implying that the stimulus doesn't have majority support, which it does, despite there being a 4:1 media bias on this in favor of the GOP.

    Besides, that is not what Gallup (you know, those pollsters who are usually right, unlike you) says, and you know it.

    February 9, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Wil

    I like Obama. His performance in Elkhart was excellent, from what I saw on TV. He can really speak to Mid-westerners. I have been away fro the midwest since I moved away from my hometown, but I can still relate to the midwest way of communicating (plain and straight). ...I wish that Obama had more input in the actual structure of the stimulus package, then I would have much more confidence in it than I do now. Whatever it is, I'm sure we'll make it work.

    February 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Rick K

    Given that 54% support this stimulus, more support a stimulus in general, and still more support what the president is trying to do, is the headline and the story really about the difference in the numbers?

    You have GOPers who voted for three times this much in Iraq slamming the stimulus, the president, the dems in congress, the few GOP senators who are trying to work with the president – what do you expect?

    We voted him in and we support him. That's the story.

    February 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Chris from NC

    To all those who aren't so enthused about the stimulus plan, WAKE UP!!!!! Sitting on our hands while the (you know what) hits the fan only makes the problem WORSE. Of course the plan is worth more than $800 billion in taxpayer's money, but something has to be done to stop the layoffs and get people spending again. Try not to listen to the sore losers whine about the stimulus plan. It was their shenanigans that got us here in the first place. Whether you voted for Obama or not, just give him a chance.

    February 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    No Hillary = No Obama

    Your math is still wrong.

    February 9, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. undecided

    it wasn't all republicans that brought this deppression on folks. there was a democratic majority in there the last 2 years. good old clinton deregulated banks, which in turn screwed every american that they could.

    February 9, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    @ Alex Badme

    1. Experts agree with Obama. He's not cherry-picking the advice he's listening to like the GOP does. Experts overwhelming opine that stimulus is needed...i.e., SPENDING, because it's the same thing...and that tax cuts will NOT work.

    2. The polls show you are exactly wrong. The polls show Obama and his plan are approved of by the American people...so he is, in fact, listening to us.

    3. The only reason we might be doomed is because the GOP is insisting on blocking this stimulus with fear, lies and misinformation becauase they are TERRIFIED it will work and can't stomach the possibility of Obama's success.

    February 9, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Neo

    Hey Obama has only been POTUS for a few weeks, but I'm sure a few months from now you will al be wishing you voted for Ralph Nader

    February 9, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. Hammer

    A CNN opinion poll?
    I guess they ask their news department and used them for the poll. Wolfe Blttzer, Anderson Cooper and Cambell Brown Get so excited when they mention his name it is almost obscene.

    February 9, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Loran

    Reply: No Hillary = Nobama
    You seriously need help. Hillary has moved on and serving her country. People who hold on to things after a competetion of any kind has some mental problems. Get some help. I will be praying for you.

    February 9, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. lori

    I'm so sick of hearing people say that everyone should get a check. What about those of us who have worked their whole life, lived WITHIN our means, put 20% of our pay away for bad times, didn't go get expensive hair cuts every month of pay to get our nails done every 6 weeks? As usual, those of us who WORK and PAY taxes will get punished the most. Cut our TAXES! Stop making us pay into a system that rewards people who don't want to work. I've worked at McDonalds when I had to and babysat other friends kids, whatever to make extra money. True, there are times when people deserve a hand but for cryin out loud, that's why we have such an immigration problem cuz we've gotten it into our heads somehow that we're too good to actually WORK!

    February 9, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Cindy

    It's because Republican partisan politicians have decided to support party over country, and rather than admit that, they stir up the fears and insecurity in people. As for Rush and Hannity shock jock types, this is all just a game to them, to boost their egos.

    Playing games with our lives. That's what we voted against. They just don't get it.

    February 9, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. independent now

    We the American people are just sick of seeing the huge corp get all the breaks. Gas is down in price, but food isnt? My utilites just keep going up and up and up. I am paying for summer bills when i should be seeing somekinda break. I live in Florida and I am not. If anything I am paying close to double what i did last time this year. Keep in mind everything keeps going up except my paycheck. So I dont care what kind of stimulis pkg they come up with. It is not going to affect me.... You want us to spend more money, I have cut out all un essential perks I dont eat out, dont have nails or hair cuts done. Cut my food bill , cause its just not in the budget, and still have no extra money

    February 9, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  17. jd

    Lets face it, now we have more spending with no one paying back. There needs to be major overhall and its starts in Washington.

    February 9, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Frank Thomas

    On the stimulus it seems to me if the gas prices had not gotten so high last year the R.V. industry would not been so bad. I for one did not fill my motor home once last year mostly because of the ridiculous price per gallon. Somebody should have been watching the spectulators on gas pricing.Wall Street , the Banks also failed us. Possibly if the retirees and working folks were reinbersed of the money lost in the market they would start spending and buying cars , goods and R.Vs. The U.S. citisan as you know are scared to spend what little they , we, have left before we see what will happen in the short future.
    Thanks for listening and hopefully you can read between the lines as its hard for me to put words to my thoughts.

    February 9, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    I have a question; the republicans do not want to approve the stimulus package because their solution is the president needs to give more tax cuts. My question is, if over 11 million people are out of work, what good will do to cut taxes for people who have no income. How would cutting taxes for people who do not have a job nor income help? Wouldn’t these people need income first; I don’t know something called a JOB in order for this plan to effective. If these people have no money to pay into taxes how would cutting them help.

    February 9, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Larry Houston Texas

    Well, to be perfectly honest – Obama is not only staking his reputation on this Bailout, but his re-election, is how I look at it...

    And as for Elkhart, Indiana, I've been throughout ALL of Indiana...
    And let me tell you something – I know why he went to Elkhart .....
    There is several Huge Factories there, and the reason that the
    un-employment is 15% is because the majority of those people that live there, work for that outfit that manufactures all those RV'S /
    HUGE MOTOR HOMES / Huge CAMPERS / AIRSTREAM / and other Major Brands of Mobile Vehicles.....There must be thousands of people that used to work at these manufacturing plants, that put these together, and they typically order the Engines for these type of Mobile Homes & CAMPERS from GM.

    February 9, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Larry Houston Texas

    Those people are NOW either Laid – off , and on un-employment, or
    on welfare by now, if their unemployment ran out, already..

    February 9, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. bail me out

    I dont see this pkg creating good paying jobs. I dont see it increasing my pay whatsoever. The regular guy out there isnt going to be affected by this. I have no ceo friends. I think the People if given the opportunity could manage this money better than congress. We have to budget outselves daily. Congress dosent. I dont trust them to do the right thing. There is always something in it for one of their buddies.

    February 9, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. Ardilla Sinfronteras

    Obama needs to stop his efforts at bipartisanship. He tried it, and it didn't get him anywhere. Trying to cooperate with Republicans is a waste of time. The Republicans have decided to block or slow down everything he tries in hopes that his presidency will fail. Obama won the election. The Democrats won. They should just go ahead and ram everything they can through and make the Republicans choke on it.

    February 9, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Dems be dopes

    Elkhart IN, the RV manufacturing capital of the world.

    Smaller cars....Dems

    Better milage....Dems


    Mortgage collapse............Dems

    Any they are happy to see him?

    February 9, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. Eleonore

    I hope President Obama has got the message : It is useless to try to deal with Republicans. He should try to stick to his initial message and please, stop putting $$$ in his plan for useless tax cuts.

    February 9, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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