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. Takeshi

    I still have a JOB trust me it worked! But dont listen to me look at the market in full recovery swing. but how many people in North America even knw what the Dow is about? you guessed it less then 30%!!!!!

    August 17, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Predicta

    The stimulus was about jobs...Saving jobs and creating new ones. Since it was passed, the unemployment numbers indicate that we are still losing jobs (548,000 last week alone). It is unlikely that the Stimulus will create the 2-4 million jobs that was promised. Hence the view that it is a failure.

    August 17, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Idiot_Pelosi

    Of course the Stimulus bill isn't working. It was so full of useless PORK projects that useless Congress members slid into the bill.

    Mr (I'm going to get rid of all PORK) Obama lied again.

    August 17, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. rob

    President Obama told us if Congress didn't pass the Stimulus immediately it would be catastrophic. After it was passed, he waited 3 days to sign it and to date only about 10% has been spent while unemployment has gone up and the economy has sputtered. It was passed without people knowing what was in it and one party pushing it through. Sounds like the Health Care Bills in the House.

    Its lucky the conservative Dems in Congress slowed it down because we're finding out whats in the bill and the more we know the less we want it.

    Nov. 2010 can't come fast enough.

    August 17, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Kathy S. Cloughn

    Give it time. Just heard that a berry developed in the Great Depression stimulus package has been doing great for many years?!

    Seriously, it takes time for things like this ti show up. Health care will take time and much tweaking before we get a decent package. It took many years to screw things up and will take several to get them on track.

    August 17, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. D. Tree

    Poll: most people don't realize how much the Recovery Act has helped them – you got a tax cut as part of this legislation people, wake up!

    August 17, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Expat American

    Frankly, it's too soon to tell. Those opposed to President's Obama's who are quick to criticize some of his policies for not 'working' would complain equally if they were. McCain's policy was a gas tax relief and a free textbook.

    America is the country where many reside solely in the mindset of 'Me First", "Not My Fault", "Take Care of Me", "Satisfy Me Now".

    Last but not least: "I'll take a pill instead of doing any exercise, I'm an American; it's my God-given condition that I am beautiful", “They make it in my size, so of course I’m going to wear it”.

    August 17, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Dennis

    Obama has been spending money like a tenage girl at the mall with her daddy's credit card and there's nothing to show for it except lots of debt. We'll be paying for this fiasco for years to come.

    August 17, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. poll this

    Sadly the people of our country view everything as if they are in a drive thru at a fast food joint. " I want it now, the way I like it, and cheap!"

    August 17, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. JS

    In view of the fact that increased government spending was a major portion of the GDP growth that led us to have a better-than expected GDP report for last quarter (e.g., -0.1%, which was not as bad as the previous quarters), then it seems clear that the stimulus is working. This stimulus helped to plug a hole in the economy. Also, the much criticized TARP program helped to stabilize the financial sector.

    The average American is not an economist, so the poll results are meaningless. It would be like polling Boston Redsox fans about a change in the line-up.

    Also, the right wing would be against it, even if it was working, because of their philosophy.

    August 17, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Darko

    Not nearly enough money was put into the hands of the people who know where to spend it. What's good for one person is not necessarily good for the rest of us.

    August 17, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Aunt Bea and Opie

    The 700 billion Bush gave his bagmen at the banks worked just fine.They all took half of it just for their golden parachutes and bonuses.

    August 17, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Zach K

    Patience is a Virtue. All Americans on both sides need to know this.

    By the end of this year, the bulk of the stimulus will take effect.

    Stay Strong. The recession may be behind us, but recovery is very slow.

    August 17, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. lis

    only illegal live under american dream thanks to liberal democrats..all free as long illegal vote democraps

    August 17, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. bam

    Might as well ask the general public whether the latest rocket technology will work. Why bother with such a poll?

    Top economists are saying that the stimulus is working, that we've stepped back from the brink of economic disaster left by the Bush administration. The stock market has rebounded; job loss and housing price declines are slowing. Things sure look a lot better now than they did six months ago.

    Last but not least, the stimulus is not intended to turn things around in the short-term, but to gradually stabilize and then grow the economy in future years.

    August 17, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. JJ

    The stimulus and his other bailouts has put us in a hole we may never recover from and he wants to spend more!!


    The federal budget has gone from surplus to deficit during the past decade.

    Fiscal year Surplus or deficit
    2000 +$236 billion

    2001 +$128 billion

    2002 -$158 billion

    2003 -$378 billion

    2004 -$413 billion

    2005 -$318 billion

    2006 -$248 billion

    2007 -$161 billion

    2008 -$459 billion

    2009* -$1,841 trillion (all thanks to Obama and the dems...)

    August 17, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Jonathan

    Tell the teacher that is still working or the cop still walking a beat that the stimulus isn't working... tell the GM worker who just got called back to work and the Guardian worker who just got called back to build the windshields for GM the stimulus isn't working. Tell the men and women working on our roads the stimulus isn't working. Look at your own paycheck and tell me you aren't bringing home about $100 more each month since the tax break went into affect. You guys are freaking idiots if you thought the stimulus would work in 6 months. It isn't a season of American Idol you lemmings!

    August 17, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  18. Shari, NY

    Are you going to poll the president when he goes to dinner table and later to the "john".

    I just read a CNN report right here that some stimulus money is kicking in on an Indian Reservation (in a red state) where the poor indigenous people had been neglected from time immemorial. A medical center is being erected and number of people have been employed thanks to this administration's initiative.

    What about the stimulus money that is being used to create construction and rehabilitation jobs? I am almost upset when I leave home in the morning because of the incessasnt road work being done. My complaint is that it is a hassle getting to the job I am BLESSED with because of the maligned stimulus money that is creating hard hat jobs.

    Give me a break!

    August 17, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    Give it time. Most economists agree that the stimulus averted an even greater catastrophic event.

    I personally know people who were laid off 4-6 months ago who've found new jobs; local schools are using the money to guarantee essential positions such as reading specialists; I go to the stores and see people shopping.

    It took the Bush Administration 8 years to create this mess; it's going to take some time to clean it up.

    At least we have a President willing to tackle problems and not just run away to his ranch for a vacation.

    August 17, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. michaela

    Wow....I wish I was polled. In my city, we recently laid off several police officers only to rehire them because of the stimulus package. We now have money (which ran out) to repair our levees to prevent a Katrina like disaster.

    I am not getting this...........not all the money has even been released. Give it a chance, people. It took several years and many disasterous decisions to get us to this horrible place; we won't come out of it over night.

    Also, I am really getting tired of CNN's reporting..........and polls. Yeah, I am sure my comment won't be printed.

    August 17, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Susan

    It's working in Michigan...we have several big road projects going right now with stimulus funds.

    Also, since the right was so adamant that the signs announcing these projects were wasteful (although I assume that some signmakers were glad for the work!) how do people even know if there is a project in their town or not? The right is just determined to trash President Obama at every opportunity.

    What's worked? Dow is above 9000 for the first time in 9 months.
    Home prices have stopped their free fall due to more lending.
    There will be a health care bill passed this fall.
    New cars are being bought due to clunkers being traded in.
    Energy credits are boosting contractor work in many states.
    Palin resigned (sorry, couldn't resist a jab at my favorite town crier, you know, the girl who cries 'wolf' once a week when her writers come up with some catch phrase [with footnotes] for conservative Americans to swallow.)

    August 17, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. tough call

    actually a poll is useful in economics where perception drives reality

    I however disagree with this poll

    while I was at a WaMu picnic and saw at least 50% with out a job, I do think things are ever so slowly picking up

    I would hope it would gain momentum, my take is it is too close to call if ANYTHING is helping or if we are still dropping

    August 17, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Dan

    My job was essentially created because of the heightened demand created by the stimulus bill.

    I also know for a fact that many of the major initiatives in the stimulus bill are still getting off the ground. This has little to do with the current administration, but everything to do with implementing the stimulus bill in a prudent, responsible, and transparent manner. This means it will take TIME to see the full effects. However, while the numbers have not improved considerably, the decline has slowed and even halted in many segments of the economy. However, republicans seem to think this is a failure. How naive. Sadly, even when the full effects of the stimulus bill do start to take effect, they will simply find some other contrived issue to scream about.
    Republicans, we are now fixing your mess. Stop whining.

    August 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  24. Dave

    Come on, who really thought this was going to "stimulate" the economy? It is nothing more but BO's paybacks. Georgie Porgie paid them off and now BO gets to. it was theft pure and simple.

    August 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  25. Caesar the Great

    Why is everyone asking the public to be patient when our government wasnt patient enough to make sure it was done right? Im just saying that we cant hold the public to a higher standard than our government.

    August 17, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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