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. GCV

    99 out of100 of the American's polled also don't know what the stimulus plan did – so aren't really in a position to say if it helped or not. If you're speeding down the road at 150 mph and you see you're about to smash into another car. So you slam on the breaks and the car slows to 30mph before you hit the other car. Your car is totalled but you walk away unhurt. You could conclude that the breaks didn't work because you still had a crash, failing to realize that without them you would be dead. We don't have enough of a perspective or enough of a knowledge to draw any conclusions. So polling us is not meaningful.

    August 17, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Terry, Florida

    NO KIDDING!!!!!!!!!

    The stimulus was a load of pork for frustrated Democrats. The real economic recovery will come, and is starting to emerge, from market forces as it always has, not from 36-hour employment of a few. Duh.

    August 17, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. schmedly

    Of course it is not working. It was not designed to work when we need it (right now). It was designed to look like it was working just in time for the next campaign run.

    It is kind of funny to see how many people in this blog think the economy got messed up in 8 years by one man.

    August 17, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Mike

    Most Americans don't know how to balance their checkbook. How in the world would they know the stimulous isn't working? Our citizenship is fairly deviod of experts in macro-economics. The most recent indicators are that the economy is improving.

    August 17, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Mark in Atlanta

    The stimulus money has clearly helped prevent the trickle down, deregulation, Reagan-Bush financial meltdown from becoming a decades long global depression. Those were the stakes, folks. Not everything the Obama administration has worked yet, or worked as they hoped it would. Some of the things they are doing likely won't work at all. But this country flatlined last November, and the stimulus bil has helped keep us alive. Don't like the way things are now? Neither do I, and we will have a lot of work ahead of us. But, if we can get past the petty vitriol and pull together, we will be ok in the end.

    August 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Nate

    Here's the problem- nearly every economist out there advocated for the stimulus. It was and is needed for recovery. However, they advocated for large short term government spending- large enough to counter act the decrease in consumer spending- most acknowledge the stimulus needed to be more than 1 trillion. Additionally, tax cuts are not stimulus- billions in tax cuts don't do anything to stimulate the economy. Then the democrats passed a lot of pork or things that were not stimulus.

    This is nothing more than Washington politics. If you have a solution to a problem it gets compromised by people who want your solution to fail and people who want to take advantage of it for their own special interests and political gain. The stimulus in theory was a great idea, but you can't solve problems in Washington because POLITICIANS DON'T SOLVE PROBLEMS- that's why their called politicians not problem solvers. They create problems and play politics off the solutions.

    August 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA

    Like the man in the stall told the man waiting "just give me time"

    What the heck is this fascination with if something doesn't work in 3 days, its vnot working. It took Bush 8 years to destroy the economy, and you think it's going to get fixed in 2 months?

    Give it a rest people. Lets talk in 6 months and see the numbers.

    As far as opinion, he don't get me started,

    at one point in our history the majority of whites thought that we should stay segregated too, or that there should be no interacial marriage etc.

    That is the doom of the Republicans, yes we still have people who are afraid of the word Socialism, but the new generation isn't brainwashed with missle drills, and the evils of the Soviet Empire and its evil dreams to conquer the world.

    Get over it. If the Republicans do not completely change who they are and get with the times, you are as good as gone. The future is forward not backward...

    August 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Mickie

    In today's climate of instant gratification, I can understand why people don't see an immediate impact. But I think we will see a slow and significant turnaround. Which is not to say that there are some changes needed, not just in how the government regulations work, but also in how each of us spends and saves. It's time to take a thoughtful look at how we define our success, and to slow down our expectations. Not everything happens in an instant. I love the microwave analogy Bridgette posted!

    August 17, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |

    That's funny!!!!

    We here in Florida, have ROADs being REFURBISHED, BRIDGES being REFURBISHED (after 50s YEARS OF NEGLECT)

    We've been able to KEEP 750 TEACHERS in our schools.

    YOU may not see it IN YOU POCKET....... BUT IT'S THERE

    August 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Rush Goebbels

    It worked well for Henry Paulson.

    August 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Kitchen Police

    The people that have jobs because of it aren't calling it a flop. Why don't we wait until its full impact is felt before we pass judgement.

    August 17, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Joe Russo

    You people will never get it. It's all political. The money hasn't even been spent. They are saving it for next year because it's an election year. It wil be called the "Cash for Votes" program

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. srichey

    Um, it's going to take about 5-7 years to climb out of this economic disaster and I doubt unemployment will ever go under 7% again.
    The fact that full unemployment isn't 18% should be considered a miracle

    Obama bashes, count your blessings and go back to questioning the President's birth status–where you belong.

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Coop

    Patience, patience, patience…. It took us eight years to get in this mess… we CANNOT out in 8 months…. I know it’s hard to admit anything is working when you are unemployed, but we need to give this President some time

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Dapcmeck

    Honestly if you would have paid your bills off this would have been far more productive. Money travels up hill not down.. The fat cats sit on it and give themselves bonuses this does not help strengthen the dollar or the taxpayers position.

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. bozo the obama

    now we know why the clown wanted to pass every 'change' he wanted, once people knew his true intent toward socialism and the costs associated with it, they would know he is a true con artist.

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Alan

    OK ok. So - people who elected Barack Obama are accused of treating him like the Messiah. But Republicans have been on the warpath since his election, stamping out "no" every chance they get and proclaiming his policies a failure even before they are policies.

    If they think he can fix the mess they created over the past 29 years (starting with Ronald Reagan's well-meaning but failed "trickle-down" experiment), then it's the Republicans who are convinced he's the Messiah.

    Fortunately, level-headed Americans realize it takes time to fix such enormous messes. Expecting it to be "working" in six months is like visiting a horrific toxic waste dump that's been filling up for 29 years six months after cleanup's started and complaining it's not all contained and pristine yet.

    It's my understanding that at least HALF the stimulus money hasn't even been spent yet. And banks actually gave the Obama administration the money they were handed they gleefully accepted from GW then can't even account for now.

    BIG difference, folks.

    It's a BIG job that's going to take time and bold action to clear up.

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. GG from Minnesota

    I think you should take a poll asking people if they care what polls say.
    The use of polls is equally bad for both the formation and the analysis of government policy. Unfortunately we live in an age where politicians value the results of focus groups and opinion surveys more than research and rational debate.

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. deetee

    I am soooo sick of CNN and its lopsided reporting. Who are these people you surveyed? Are they the unintelligent mob from the town halls?

    Well, people like that are the main reason why the country is in ecomonic turmoil in the first place. They are like children who stamp their feet and expect things to happen instantly. "How dare this new, Black president not making my life better in seven months or less, even though I caused my own financial ruin?!?"

    Well, dumbos, it took Bush eight years to run this country off the rails (while you all were waving your flags and stomping on Dixie Chicks CDs) and it's going to take more than seven months to haul us out.

    Please! I've started watching MSNBC!

    August 17, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Nuts

    Obama, liberals, and the state run MSM are a bunch of flops.

    August 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Mary Kay

    This takes time – and I have seen positive changes in my state (Virginia). It took Bush 4-8 years to tank the country economically and get us into an unnecessary war. You have to give this president more than 6 months to undo 8 years of the baffoon called Bush.

    August 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. Roger

    We did not get into this economic mess over night & it will take time to recover....remember it was around 9-08 before GW ever mentioned that we were in a recession....he & his entire right wing administration were in denial about the let's give President Obama a chance....

    August 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Gary Swanson

    Has anyone done a poll on how America feels about the mess that the present administration inherited from the previous administration? Never mind ... that poll was taken last November and we know what the results of that were.

    Let's try this poll again once this stimulus package has actually do something instead of feeding America's need for immediate gratification. Immediate gratification is part of what got us into this mess in the first place.

    August 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. IndyVoter

    Negative, Negative, Negative..... Its much easier to doubt, and not have hope or not look forward to anything, that way if it doesn't happen you won't be dissapointed. Its much easier to wallow in self pity. Plus, most of the people polled probably don't know squat about economic principles or what is stimulating the economy and what isn't. How can they even give a correct answer if they don't have all the facts?

    August 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Joan

    The stimulus bill was rushed to a vote before the ink was even dry on the legislation because the nation was in crisis! Projects had to be submitted that were "shovel-ready" so that the stimulus money could hit the streets quickly! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! But, Americans went along with Obama because they trusted him to do what he said he was going to do. Obama now states that the stimulus money WAS ALWAYS INTENDED to be spent over 2 years. REALLY?

    Now, 6 months later, the fact is that less than 15% of the stimulus money has even been spent. So, the stock market improvement has nothing to do with any stimulus impact!

    The unfortunate result is that those of us who put our faith in Obama to do the right thing have discovered that Obama has feet of clay. And, while millions are struggling to deal with the financial impacts of losing their jobs, Obama has already moved on to his next project, health care.

    August 17, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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