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Gallup: Public Backs Obama in Stimulus Fight

By Jon Cohen
Who has an edge in the stimulus battle?

White House officials, frustrated by Republican claims that they have public opinion on their side, distributed a new Gallup poll this morning showing President Obama with "the upper hand in the stimulus fight."

In that poll, 67 percent of Americans said they approve of the way the president has handled efforts to pass an economic recovery package, while far fewer gave good marks to congressional Democrats (48 percent) or congressional Republicans (31 percent).

Slightly over half, 51 percent, said it's "critically important" that the government pass a bill -- about the same percentage supporting this package in a USA Today-Gallup poll last week.

The fresh poll results follow a blitz this past weekend by Republicans, who seized on a CBS poll indicating sliding support for the approximately $800 billion plan before Congress.

The polls are a big part of the fight over the bill, but given the vast complexity of the shifting legislation, the data may offer little more than grist for the partisan mill.

Outside of Washington, few Americans are carefully engaged with what's been happening in Congress: A Pew poll shows most people are aware of Obama's push for the plan (69 percent said they've heard "a lot" about it), but fewer than four in 10 said they were tracking news about the bill "very closely."

(In a piece worth reading in full, Kaiser's Drew Altman and Mollyann Brodie point out that "[p]olicy-option polling pushes the limits of what polling can do, particularly if the policy options are complex.")

One relative constant in the face of variable polls about the stimulus is Obama's approval rating. Gallup's latest daily tracking number sits at 64 percent, which makes a direct contrast with perennially low congressional ratings a bit of a "gimme."

Closer to the White House's point, public views appear to be moving in Obama's direction: In the Gallup poll, 55 percent said they now have more confidence in the Obama administration's "ability to improve the economy."

But the CBS poll offered a nod the other way, reporting that most Americans prefer tax cuts over increased government spending. That's one reason Democrats have been so quick to try rebrand the spending as "investments." And at the end of the day, the fight over perceptions is in part about appearing to get along: Eighty-one percent in the CBS poll said the stimulus plan should "have the support of both parties."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 9, 2009; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , The Pollster  
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If I was not convince before, I am now, that most of the polls are conducted in the blue areas, around the major metropolitan areas that get painted blue every election.

Posted by: beowulf39565 | February 9, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The GOP should stop Hijacking the Stimulus Package and holding it Hostage because the way George Bush and the GOP spent our money will be characterized by an Era of Irresponsibility and Neglect, while Obama wants to spend our money wisely and on rebuillding Americsa, if the GOP lets him. The awful truth is that One Party has destroyed America while the other Party the Democratic Party wants to restore it.

For instance: If you have a home in which you used your money to spend on alcohol, good times and neglected your roof, your bills, and now your roof is in danger of collapsing because you used your money on good times instead of the upkeep of your home and now the Argument is you are unable to borrow money to fix your roof before it caves in because you used your money foolishly in the past is also recklesslness and neglect on the part of the lender, so they let the roof collapse.

In the Bush years 30 billion was spent in Afghanistan -- 50 billion in Iraq and now Congress wants to say we cannot spend necessary money at home which has so long been neglected? States were given no money in the Bush years and now they still want to keep money out of the States on a fraudulent theory.

It is now time to for Congress to put money back in to the United States and to spend money wisely and not fraudulently, irresponsibly and in the dark as in the Bush years. Obama believes in transparancey, hence you can find the Stimulus package on line for all to see.

GOP say this money will be more of the same. It will not be more of the same. This money will be used for Americans, for jobs, to rebuild for improvement and innovations to improve life not on wars and countries which have nothing to do with American people or on big business who do not need the money.

Bush and the Republicans inherited a Surplus from the Democrats and yet the GOP has created the worst economic crisis ever. The GOP should stop hijacking the Stimulus and do the right thing and let money flow back into America again, instead of holding the Democrats hostage from their quest of bringing help to the people and restoring American again. When will average Americans wake up and realize that the GOP does not care for YOU!

Posted by: dsoulplane | February 9, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse




EYES ONLY. TO: President Obama; VP Biden; R. Emanuel; D. Axelrod; D. Blair; J. Brennan; J. Jones; E. Holder; J. Napolitano; R. Gates; L. Panetta; H. Clinton; T. Geithner; R. Mueller; H. Reid; N. Pelosi; D. Feinstein; S. Reyes


...comprised of security/intel agents, local police nationwide, and citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and anti-terrorism programs.




Posted by: scrivener50 | February 9, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

It's funny, I've never seen JakeD mention the problems with polls in his frequent comments citing poll results he likes . . .

It's sort of like how Republicans only remember that they are against spending when Democrats are in office, I guess.

Posted by: nodebris | February 9, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

You didn't read the DeMint Amendment? The total cost to run the White House is at least $1.6 billion (probably over $2 billion) per year. Maybe we should start by limiting his "compensation"?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse


- Signed GOP Leaders

They've still got nothing. I can't wait to hear why this is all Bill Clinton's fault.

Maybe Mr. Steele can explain it when he gets back from talking to the FBI.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | February 9, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse


How about we limit the federal CEO's compensation too?

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

39. S.AMDT.125 to H.R.1 To limit compensation to officers and directors of entities receiving emergency economic assistance from the Government.
Sponsor: Sen McCaskill, Claire [MO] (introduced 2/3/2009) Cosponsors (8)
Latest Major Action: 2/5/2009 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 125 agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

hey jakey..
polls shouldn't influence thinking too much.

hollywood money got cut.
i am re-reading the amendments sitting in Senate.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 9, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

This is enormous political capital. That Obama can be peddling an unpopular stimulus yet still beat the Republicans in the polls...Amazing.

Helps that the GOP is countering the stimulus with absolutely nothing.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | February 9, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

(from the link):

What polls cannot tell us. First, polling can tell us where the public stands on an issue, but it cannot tell us what is right.

Polls do not tell the whole story. Second, in interpreting polls, it is important to keep in mind that public opinion is just one factor in the political/policy process.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The clear majority of Americans do not want $50 million to the NEA in a "stimulus" package. How that translates to general approval ratings is anyone's guess.

Posted by: JakeD | February 9, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

This shows if you drill down in the polling the Republicans are on pretty shaky ground. While no one in Congress share Obama’s high polling you can see that Polosi and Reid still poll at least 50-50 while the Republican leadership is disapproved by a rating of 2-1. Obama has extended his had and wrote a bunch of Republican ideas into this bill and he has been attacked. Watch what happens this week now that Obama is on the move.

Posted by: bradcpa | February 9, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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