August 17th, 2009
12:39 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Stimulus not working

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six months after the $787 billion economic stimulus package became law, a new poll indicates a majority of Americans don't think it's working.

Fifty-seven percent of those questioned in a USA Today/Gallup survey released Monday say the federal stimulus has had no effect on the economy so far, or has made things worse. Just over four in 10 say the stimulus has made things better.

The poll also suggests that six in 10 doubt that the stimulus package will make things better in the future, with 38 percent saying the infusion of money from Washington will have a positive effect on the nation's economy.

"Support for the stimulus package dropped significantly even before it was passed, and six months ago the public was evenly divided over whether it would help the economy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Americans have never supported the idea of a second stimulus bill - back in March, two-thirds opposed that idea."

The stimulus package includes nearly $300 billion in tax cuts and nearly $500 billion in new spending. No Republicans in the House of Representatives, and only three in the Senate, voted in favor of the bill.

Republicans have been vocal in criticizing what they call the ineffectiveness of the stimulus package to lower unemployment and jump start the economy.

The USA Today/Gallup poll was conducted August 6-9, with 1,010 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN Polls • Stimulus
soundoff (301 Responses)
  1. candian pov

    Sorry but having been following the ridiculous debate over health care, I can only assume that most Americans are not very smart. Stimulus measures in Europe, Canada and now Japan have started to show results. If your citizenry would be less concerned about protecting the profits of the very private corporations that have aided and abetted with Bush & Co and demand actions for the benefit of the people, you just might get some of that trickle down economic benefits that you were fooled into believing under Reagan.

    Good luck.

    August 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. AntiRush

    Anyone who thinks that the stimulus isn't working because unemployment hasn't dropped doesn't understand how the economy works. Banks have stabilized, for now, as has the housing market. Some economic indicators are up. Factory production has started to rise. Unemployment will be the LAST thing to improve, after the rest of the economy improves enough so that companies have to hire again.

    August 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Doug

    57% of Americans are stupid it would appear. Even economist who aren't fans of big spending say three things: The money Bush loaned to banks helped the economy from falling into an abyss. Obama's stimulus bill is still too young to know if it's flop or not but his willingness to be active and show he won't let the economy fall has given confidence in key sectors. No it hasn't reached people like me yet, but recent numbers show the slide is over. We just are in a big hole and it will take a while to crawl out.

    August 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Sean

    Polls are great and all, but seriously, how many people really have enough understanding of the complexities of our economy to be able to reach an accurate conclusion about this? I like to think that I'm relatively well informed, but I certainly can't say if the stimulus is working or not. Would we be in a worse place right now had we NOT done it? I don't know. How long should it take for us to see drastic improvement? Again, no idea – but I don't think we should be expecting it to have happened already.

    August 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. gobacktokenya

    WOW! that's the understatement of the year. Resident Obongo is the quentisential's that hope and change workin out for ya?

    August 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. John

    I am constantly marveled by the lack of knowledge some citizens of this country have when it comes to their own political and economic well-being. The stimulus, and Obama's entire recovery plan, is a slow-moving one that, in fact, has made progress in many ways. Most of the economic indicators show that this recession is starting to ease up. That isn't to say that we're in the clear, but the fact is that we are on the right track. It will take some time. The average American has no idea about the complexity of their own economy so there's no point in taking this poll seriously. That's always how it has been.

    August 17, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. SeaWife

    The stimilus IS working.

    Here in Arizona we are thriving and would never know there was a recession.

    Road work is everywhere as far as you can see!

    The resorts are thriving.

    We can thank President Obama for this. It is just amazing!

    August 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. MatthewDetroit


    Dr. Anne Doig, the incoming president of the Canadian Medical Association, said her country’s health care system is “sick” and “imploding,” the Canadian Press reported.

    “We know there must be change,” Doig said in a recent interview. “We’re all running flat out, we’re all just trying to stay ahead of the immediate day-to-day demands.”

    Canada’s universal health care system is not giving patients optimal care, Doig added. When her colleagues from across the country gather at the CMA conference in Saskatoon Sunday, they will discuss changes that need to be made, she said.

    “We all agree the system is imploding, we all agree that things are more precarious than perhaps Canadians realize,” she said.


    August 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. David

    Only the 51 percent of america that was stupid enough to vote for Obama could believe government programs can create jobs (pronounced handouts). If the billions spend on Tarp, soon to be health reform, bailing out GM & Chrysler, had simply not been withheld from american workers paychecks, the US economy would be blazing now. But the "stimulas" program was required to payback the unions & obama's dem friends for the election. Now the 51 percent of stupid americans will have years to payoff thier victory....directly to China.

    August 17, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. rb

    When Bush was a president everyday was dark knowing there is no end to it, at least now we got a hope and we still need to give it some time. It's too early to give up. It hard to trust any government, but after what Busch did with this country we need to have a little bit more patience and after we can judge.

    What is sad we the people are struggling and government needs to do something to help us from all this sharks around us sending late payment notices. I want to pay but with what? I would wait and be patient, but who is going to help us and when.

    I still hate Busch's era. Let's see what Obama will do for us and our country.
    I hope and I prey something good and needs to be soon.

    August 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Jerry

    To bad the liberals do not realize that the democrats have controlled congress since 2006 , they created this mess. Borrowing money from the Chinese will only create more debt , union pay offs and prolong the pain

    August 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. liz

    A low percentage of the stimulus money has been put to work–let's just give the rest of the stimulus money back to the American taxpayer who can put it to good use

    August 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Bob in VA

    What a dumb poll.

    August 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Phil

    You mean the tactic of having Joe Biden spit out imaingary statistics didn't convince the American people the stimulus was a success? Maybe he needed to make-up higher numbers.

    I wrote a speech for Joe: "To date the stimulus has saved or created 30 trillion jobs, unfortunately we still have a net 250,000 job loss this month. We'd all be dead if not for the stimulus though."

    August 17, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Jeff

    It' not Bush (or Obama) that are to blame for our current economic crisis and the loss of jobs. The responsibility for this mess falls on all of us who think that shopping at WalMart to save $3.00 on a pair of shoes will have no repercussions. WE built the Chinese and Indian economies into the juggernauts that they have become. Buy imports, the jobs go overseas, buy imports and grow other economies, they need more oil so then we get to pay $4+ per gallon of gas like last summer. Want to create American jobs? BUY AMERICAN!

    August 17, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. Jeff in TX

    Way too early. 6-8 months to move the world's largest economy...when much less than 20% has actually been spent/invested? These projects are just rolling out now. Then people get paid. Then the spend money. Then the economy picks up. Then tax revenues rise. It takes time....certainly more than 8 months when something like $100B of the $787 has been spent.

    August 17, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Chryssa

    What a bunch of morons. The stimulus IS working. If they can't see it, they shouldn't be voting.

    August 17, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Matt

    Economists estimated that the economy would be recovering in the Fall of 2009 even if there was no stimulus package. Obama has wasted OUR money.

    And we want this guy remaking our healthcare sector?

    August 17, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Blembergmd

    This poll reflects the distrust and anger seen at the town meetings on healthcare. People voicing their opinions strongly are NOT some right wing radical group, but, ordinary citizens upset with their government.

    August 17, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Chipster

    The Bush Administration's prescription drug plan adds $10 trillion to the deficit over a 10 year period – that was their estimate and they were the ones who decided that the program should be banned from negotiating lower prices for pharmaceuticals.

    Where were all the deficit hawks then? While Bush was nearly doubling the deficit from the $5 trillion (Clinton had begun to reduce it) he inherited, I don't recall all this concern over deficits. It's such a mystery why it's suddenly noticed.

    I'm pretty sure that Obama is not going to turn it around in 6 or 7 months. It a little late for the deficit hawks to be whining now.

    August 17, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Scott

    They are wrong. The stimulus could have been better had Republicans gotten out of the way, but even what passed helped avert a serious crisis from getting significantly worse. The impact of the stimulus will grow over the next six months, too. People are simply misinformed (poor media coverage and dishonest politicians), as is the case on health care, too.

    August 17, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Tina

    USA Today? Their "most popular" story of the day is: ABC unveils new cast of 'Dancing With the Stars'

    Enough said.

    August 17, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. gt

    ya think !!!! what a waste of time and money,,, good greif ..when will this bunch get a clue what american wants and needs...

    August 17, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Robert

    Stimulus IS working! My 401k is back to growing leaps and bounds...

    August 17, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. Coop

    I agreed with GCV…. Most of us Americans do not know what the Stimulus suppose to do.... to help this blog, I took a poll amongst my teammates asking if they knew what the stimulus suppose to do and they all said create jobs….. So I understand what most think the Stimulus is not working cause “IT SUPPOSE TO CREATE JOBS WITHIN 8 MONTHS”…. But how many have checked CareerBuilder, to see the amount of openings compare to the beginning of the year…. We all agreed it’s hard time but let us be logical that it’s too soon to PULL THE PLUG ON HOPE!!!

    August 17, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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