The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Pollster

Gallup: Majority of Americans Back Stimulus Package

By Jennifer Agiesta
A narrow majority of Americans favor the Democratic leadership's efforts to put a $775 billion economic stimulus package on President-elect Barack Obama's desk quickly after he takes office. A Gallup poll released yesterday found 53 percent in favor of such a bill, 36 percent opposed.

Broader majorities backed several specific components of Obama's plan -- including tax cuts for individuals, families and businesses and increased spending on infrastructure -- while fewer were in favor of expanded aid to state governments.

Along party lines, Democrats expressed broadest support for the overall plan (67 percent), followed by a slim majority of independents who backed it (54 percent); 34 percent of Republicans said they support the bill. Ideological leanings, however, further divide the GOP. Moderate and liberal Republicans were about evenly split on the plan (46 percent in favor, 44 percent opposed), while conservative GOPers tilted heavily against the package (68 percent opposed it).

Turning to the policies that may make up such a plan, more than seven in 10 told Gallup's pollsters they backed job creation via spending on infrastructure (78 percent favor), tax cuts for businesses to encourage job creation (75 percent) and tax cuts of up to $1,000 for families and $500 for individuals (72 percent).

Majorities across party lines favored each of these proposals, with the widest gap coming on increased spending on infrastructure (89 percent of Democrats favored that component, as did 77 percent of independents and 66 percent of Republicans).

The public was more closely divided on increasing aid to state governments in order to avoid budget shortfalls: 49 percent favored such spending, 42 percent opposed it. Only among Democrats (62 percent in favor) did the plan gain majority support. About half of independents (48 percent) and a third of Republicans (33 percent) supported it.

The Gallup poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 6-7 among a random national sample of 972 adults. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Posted at 1:47 PM ET on Jan 9, 2009  | Category:  The Pollster
Share This: Technorati talk bubble Technorati | Tag in | Digg This
Previous: Obama Formally Rolls Out Intelligence Team | Next: Biden Reaffirms Alliance with Pakistan in Visit to Islamabad

Add 44 to Your Site
Be the first to know when there's a new installment of The Trail. This widget is easy to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry on The Trail.
Get This Widget >>


Please email us to report offensive comments.

America is at a serious crossroads. In light of the fact that our economy is in the toilet, it's time for our elected leaders to consider some new ideas to pull us out of the recession. The best way to make sure they do this is to make our voices heard. I encourage everyone to check out and sign the petition - strength in numbers!

Posted by: actionashley | January 10, 2009 2:04 PM

Americans are slowly waking up to the reality of how completely Bush and the Republicans shut off all government regulation in an extreme ideological reflex. Let the private sector do anything they want, no government oversight. Privatize war, privatize retirement, privatize infrastructure, disaster aid, let businesses pollute, mining companies dump, coal companies fill toxic ponds but don't ever regulate anything.

They sure did a great job. What a mess!

Posted by: thebobbob | January 10, 2009 2:31 AM

Go back to the fundamentals, the first and second laws of thermodynamics apply to economics and govt as well. When you funnel money through the govt, waste is ALWAYS present, no matter how many "Oversight Czars" you appoint, it's a law of nature. Free markets (voluntary exchanges between individuals) are nature's way and are how America became the most prosperous and free country in the world. Either politicians are completely ignorant of basic science or are power hungry and know that only by abolishing free markets can they control everything. Either way, it's bad for the individual American.

Posted by: bastilledude | January 9, 2009 7:34 PM

I can't help but wonder what the Republicans would do if they still controlled the Government, I don't even want to think about that scenario. Give it a quick thought.

Posted by: shipfreakbo214 | January 9, 2009 6:14 PM

The irony of this infrastructure stimulus package is that a decent percentage of it will go to undocumented non-tax paying illegal aliens and other low skilled labor. This isn't a racist comment, its a fact. Who does most of the infrastructure construction work? It may make the owner(s) of the construction company wealthier but it will have very little impact on other sectors. You want a very low cost way (if not free) to stimulate the economy, easy and it can be done in 2 steps. 1) Force all employers to use eVerify and only higher tax paying US Citizens. 2) Stop the outsourcing of hi-paying professional jobs overseas. This will stimulate the job market on both the low and hi end and won't cost the gov't, more specifically tax payers, any money.

Posted by: madmax8600 | January 9, 2009 5:27 PM

If the peanut farmer could give away the panama canal and ruin the economy, the nation should withstand this bait and switch con.

Posted by: landofcapone | January 9, 2009 5:26 PM

That's nonsense.

Most people do not support that stimulus bill and propagandizing it in the left wing Washington Post changes nothing. The Washington Post is clearly the propaganda arm of Obama's new socialist regime and it's opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.

Posted by: rplat | January 9, 2009 5:19 PM

I have to admit that I like the idea of using the bailouts to rebuild the infrastucture. However, if I were out of a job right now (in JANUARY) I wouldnt readily sign up for a job building roads and bridges in the snow. I like the idea of computerizing the health care system though. There's tons of out of work IT folks who wouldnt mind signing on for that.

Posted by: tunatofu | January 9, 2009 5:08 PM

Nice touch, pgr. I think Democrats were the only ones involved in the poll.

Posted by: twin_pin | January 9, 2009 5:05 PM

I also say give it to the taxpayers - after all, it's our money and we REALLY know what the priorities are. Maybe its the heating bill, maybe the car needs a tuneup, maybe the kids need new shoes. At least when they give it to ME, I can account for it. I also PAID IT in the first place! How much of the $700 million bailout did the recipient companies actually pay in? Not a lot. COMPANIES get tax breaks that exempts them from paying into the same pot that we little people (individuals) pay.

Posted by: tunatofu | January 9, 2009 5:04 PM

The "Gimme the money" party is fully in charge of the federal government. In fact, since the administration of #43 bankrupted the more fiscally responsible ethic of the Republican party, there is no organized opposition.

Our children are doomed.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 9, 2009 5:02 PM

No doubt it is the same majority that expects Obama to pay their gas bill and their car and home loans.

Posted by: pgr88 | January 9, 2009 4:55 PM

well like any other good american corporation we all want a bail out. So we will take a stimlus check and spend it as we see fit with no accountability like the big banks. We may even send our money overseas to fund some unknown countries recovery from when he bombed them back to the stone age or maybe to a country we intend to bomb in the future. The point is keep our money here for Americans, if these third world countries cant make it then tough. Suck it up, get an education, get a job, and take care of your self.

Posted by: donandpamfalks | January 9, 2009 4:44 PM

(especially my two idiot senators here in Arizona)


Just vote for the President (elect's) are out of your league and mostly responsible for the Bush bullsh!t so keep your piehole shut and do what WE say.

Posted by: kase | January 9, 2009 4:43 PM

a trillion dollars of new debt (with no return) that will maintain the status quo (at best) for a while. Obama blathers away with all this pie-in-the-sky aspiration but the audience appears less than enthusiastic. This country was plundered by Wall Street, we won't get it back painlessly.

Posted by: twin_pin | January 9, 2009 4:37 PM

Many of you who commented should be on Obama's economic team. Your ideas are brilliant and appreciated.

First, Tax holiday is a good idea and should be enacted for atleast the remainder of year.

Secondly, Obama's plan has not specifically provided to the general public, so how can one agree without reading the specifics of the plan

Third, rolling back bushes tax cuts on the rich and wealthy would harm the economy at this time. However, the Congress should force companies like the automakers to bring jobs back to America.

Fourth, I think one solution is to rollback the cost of living to pre 9/11 or pre- Bush. I think, if we roll back the cost of good and services in this country when the economy was more stable may be we can learn how we got in this mess.

Fifth, the remainder of the TARP (if any is left), should be applied to cutting taxes, or given to the states.

Sixth, I like this one........ End the Iraq war, and force the iraqis to give us oil for free as we have sacrificed so much here for them..... You talking about billions.........we can save.

Lastly, Obama's plan needs to be revamped b/c 10 or 20 dollars more on a check aint gonna cut it. Businesses do not tax relief; they need people who will buy their goods and/or services, So,,,, the government can and should be the buyer of those goods and services with conditions that those business do not higher immigrants. This should be a short term fix. As a result of buying those services, many new jobs will be created inclduing contracting, health care, and tech. OOPS wait a minute thats in his plan. LOL.

Posted by: Nubianmd37 | January 9, 2009 4:28 PM

Come on...the Bush/Republican years weren't that bad, were they? I mean, Republicans are the fiscally responsible party, right? How bad could it be?

Then: 4.2% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2001)
Now: 6.7% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, November 2008)

Then: 115.7 (Conference Board, January 2001)
Now: 38.0, which is an all-time low (Conference Board, December 2008)

Then: +236.2 billion (2000, Congressional Budget Office)
Now: -$1.2 trillion (projected figure for 2009, Congressional Budget Office)

Ok. Never mind.

Posted by: DrainYou | January 9, 2009 4:24 PM

I am against the current shape of the stimulus package; too many tax cuts and too little monies for direct job creation and alternative energy funding. As is, if this is as good as it gets, we might be better just to do nothing, save the money and don't grow the deficit by another trillion.

Posted by: yarbrougharts | January 9, 2009 4:16 PM

For 8 years, the congress has let Bush get away with anything he has wanted to do. For the past 2 years that same congress has been controlled by the democracts...SO SHUT UP AND LET OBAMA TRY TO GET US OUT OF THE MESS BOTH THE CONGRESS AND BUSH HAS PUT US IN!!!

Posted by: WVUWEIRTON | January 9, 2009 4:04 PM

Aren't we spending about $700 billion annually on the Iraq war?

Getting out of Iraq will be the best thing we can do to get our economy back on track as it was this debacle that has gotten us where we are today. Unfortunately we will be paying off the trillions in debt from this failed expedition for long into the future.

Iraq already has its billions in oil revenue and we will continue to buy oil from them into the future. Iraq has everything it needs to survive if it wants too.

Funny how people seem to forget.

Posted by: tazmodious | January 9, 2009 3:24 PM

How can people be in favor of a stimulous package when they don't know it's details?

Meaningless survey.

Are we short on news today? Seems like the Post is working overtime to have a continuous story on a potential stimulous package. All this tells me is that the Post is in favor of a stimulous package, regardless of it's contents.

Posted by: postfan1 | January 9, 2009 3:23 PM

How can people say they support the bill when we don't know what's in the bill yet?

Posted by: noahwayy | January 9, 2009 3:20 PM

We still need our new President to repeal all the Bush Tax Cuts for Millionaires and Billionaires - and to rescind all tax exemptions for corporations, forcing them to get them reauthorized on a one-by-one basis where they have to justify their existence.


Not just words.

Posted by: WillSeattle | January 9, 2009 3:17 PM

Woo hoo! New sneakers and ipods for everybody! Don't worry, the kids and grandkids will pay for it later (or maybe the PRC will pay after they are left holding a bunch of bad paper).

What a moronic poll--ask a standard group of uninformed buffoons if they'd like to have $500/$1000. What answer did they think they'd get? A dissertation on the merits of Keynes vs. Friedman, perhaps? Get real. This is where the politicians need to exercise the judgment for which they were elected, not pander to the idiocy.

Posted by: but_seriously | January 9, 2009 3:06 PM

first of all, no one polled me. And second, if they did, I wouldn't have an answer because I don't know the details. Most people responding yes to this poll probably know none of the details either. So this really is a pretty useless poll. Let Obama present his case and let the debates begin before jumping out on the stimulus bandwagon. I think everyone agrees that the economy is weak right now, but I doubt that few who were polled have any idea what the so called stimulus package entails.

Posted by: djl2357 | January 9, 2009 3:04 PM

this is petty cash for our government! the stimulus money is not really intended for the people. it is for the banks, which are owned by the private "Federal" Reserve. The Fed Reserve has lost a fortune in this economy, which is why interest rates are bottomed out. They approve a stimulus check distribution and then put the money in the Fed Reserve who then earns billions of dollars a day while the checks are being mailed out over a three month period. The checks are deposited into banks, who then earn billions in interest (much of which never gets spent by people who dont't need the money and it adds to their other dusty and moldy money). A lot of the money finally gets spent and ends up back in banks who loan it out for high interest and make billions more.
Most taxpayers are hardly benefitted by this because it is a measly size check and ultimately goes to paying debts. That is, the average American is indebted with over $15,000 of high interest credit card debt (thanks to corrupt banking scams and unregulated credit card industry), which can never be paid off because most people can only afford to pay the minimum balance and will use the stim money to buy worthless items (or food) instead of putting it toward their high interest debts.
Don't be fooled by the enormous size of these taxpayer funded stimulus checks because they are just petty cash to our government and will eventually produce the Fed Reserve an enormous profit.

Posted by: killthemessenger | January 9, 2009 2:58 PM


The best way to increase fast economic activity is to give "personal tax-holiday for a year" instead of doing "this & that". When state governments give tax holidays for a week, the sales goes up, employment increases, industrial production increases and increases overall consumers spending. Why not Federal Government does this simple approach? All the famous economists and their suggestions failed and the economy is going down after spending ~500 Billion. Now new government wants to add another trillion to the same "black hole". As a Scientist, I always look to the simple approaches rather than complex methods. Consumer is simple minded. He could see the numbers in the paycheck. If that increase in the paycheck will stay as increased for some time he will buy a new car, he will expand on house; he will use his credit card for consumer goods. This economic activity will produce more goods and services and more employment. MIT/Princeton/ Howard/Columbia/ U Penn economists failed anyway. Why consumers should follow their new economic stimulus plan?

Posted by: madayilnair | January 9, 2009 2:55 PM

This stimulus will result in nothing good. It will fizzle out as soon as the checks stop going out, just like this summer. The first round of Bush-bucks in 2002 worked well, but the economy wasn't nearly as screwed up. Bush-bucks failed last summer and Obama-bucks will fail this summer. This trick worked once, thats it.

All we will have to show for this stimulus will be a devalued currency, inflation, more debt and likely higher interest rates on the long bond.

Posted by: PSURoss | January 9, 2009 2:48 PM

I can see the ignorant folks spouting anti-government propaganda are out in force. First, the claim that 70% of government expenditures are spend on admin. costs and overhead is ridiculous. Second, the anti-government propagandists would have you believe that government expenditures produce nothing of value. That is also ridiculous. We like what we get from government. We don't want to give anything up, but we keep demanding more and more from government. Therein lies the problem.

The American people are unwilling to acknowledge the fact that we cannot pay for all we want from government now. We want the roads, the other infrastructure, the military capability to fight several wars at once around the globe with the latest in technology and training, the social services and the social security sytem. We want the public safety and the businesses want the government regulation (yes, they really do, in most cases).

Stop pretending that government doesn't provide anything we want- when people are asked to give up their own government benefits, they never agree to do that. Try going without what government provides- do you really think it will magically get done by private market machinations? Don't kid yourself!

Posted by: mightysparrow | January 9, 2009 2:48 PM

I am not in favor of tax credits for business.

What about small businesses (under say...50 employees)? Are you against them getting tax credits to keep their current workers employed and to *hopefully* employ more?

Posted by: XanderB | January 9, 2009 2:45 PM

PanhandleWilly nailed it dead on. This is just more Krugman/Keynesian "something-for-nothing" garbage that Bush threw at us after the implosion. Tax cuts + spending increases = greater debt for our children and grandchildren.

Obama's fear mongering is also straight out of Bush's playbook when he used it to get us into Iraq and to pass the $700 billion Wall Street handout earlier this year.

The GOP and Dems are different sides to the same corrupt coin.

Posted by: millionea7 | January 9, 2009 2:45 PM

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Now that We the People have elected Democrats to high office, Republicans will stand foursquare against whatever Democrats propose. Republicans, remember, were in charge when we got attacked on 9/11 and were in charge when the ultra-wealthy took home extra money in the form of tax cuts and the ultra-wealthy invested that money in sub-prime mortgages. They played a game called Let's Pretend. They pretended the buyers of houses would be able to repay their loans. This helped the ultra-wealthy with their bottom lines. I don't know how to solve the current economic crisis. That's why we hire Ph.D. economists. But something must be done to compensate for the government's mistakes of the recent past. And attending to Republican word games is worse than counterproductive.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | January 9, 2009 2:44 PM

Follow Up Gallup Poll Headlines:

-Vast Minority of Americans Understand Economics.

-Majority of Americans Support Stimulus Package That Will Destroy Their Child's Future (although they do not comprehend).

-Slight Majority of Americans Support Britney Spears Bailout

Posted by: db0901 | January 9, 2009 2:43 PM

I favor creating jobs to repair the infrastructure; but I want to see the men/ machines out there working. Our infrastructure is horrible; our roads, bridges, water systems, electrical systems, sewers, rivers, etc., need work. That takes money, but I want to see sweat for my buck.
I am not in favor of tax credits for business. I'm absolutly not in favor of more money to banks/financial institutions that they sit on. I am infavor of taking back what we gave them, by legal action if necessary.
$500 per person is stupid; if you aren't going to help, don't make fun.
I want to be very careful with helping out mortages. I want houses to be bought and sold for a true price, not that inflated bubble price. But, don't give it away.
I demand affordable health care for every citizen!!!!!!!!

Posted by: linda_521 | January 9, 2009 2:34 PM

Note to Jennifer: 53% is not a "narrow majority," especially in politics. Only 36% were opposed (leaving, presumably, 11% on the fence). 54% of independents supported Obama's plan. Is that also a narrow majority? Keep in mind that Obama garnered about 52% of the popular vote. Ask John McCain if he was "narrowly defeated."

Jennifer try reporting facts and if you can't understand numbers well enough to write about them, then find someone who can. 53% is a majority. Period.

Posted by: Bob22003 | January 9, 2009 2:32 PM

Infantryman has it right on. All the weak minds who were taken in by the rookie and his fawning media are historical and political illiterates, or they're just plain dishonest. The government doesn't have any money. It takes from the productive and gives to the non productive.
As for the "tax credits," much of them will go to those who pay no tax anyway. That way, the liberals will keep them greedy for more.
Pathetic socialists.
U.S.Army Retired

Posted by: LarryG62 | January 9, 2009 2:30 PM

Maybe Gallup should have formed the question thusly: Are you in favor of printing money to temporarily make us apprear better off until our currency approaches worthless and we end up like Argentina in the 1980's?

Are you in favor of giving your tax dollars to people who have proven beyond a doubt that they will squander it at the first opportunity and then beg you for more?

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | January 9, 2009 2:26 PM

I want to see what all the stimulus plan entails before I even think about having a positive outlook on it. Bush's stimulus plan failed, so what makes this one better?

Posted by: XanderB | January 9, 2009 2:18 PM

This poll is basically worthless until the stimulus plan takes shape. Who doesn't want a big refund check?

Posted by: wapo9 | January 9, 2009 2:14 PM

the majority are idiots.
they actually think the government can give them something for nothing, or someone else will pay. in my world we call that being a thief.
you cant steal your way to success.
consider this. for every 1 dollar the government collects to give away - they spend 70 cents on administrative charges and overhead.
that means they waste the money you idiots.

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | January 9, 2009 2:14 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.


© 2009 The Washington Post Company