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Stimulus: Down to Details

As negotiations heat up over the massive federal stimulus package, newly-released results from last week's Washington Post-ABC News poll detail the public's priorities for the plan.

Of 12 specific items tested in the poll, the ones at the top of the list are extending unemployment insurance and health care coverage for those who've lost their jobs and increasing the country's production of alternative sources of energy.

At the back of the pack is expanding high-speed Internet access to rural areas, something 7 percent of those polled call one of "the highest priorities." Also lower on the list of particulars is a cut in business taxes, though Republicans are much more apt than others to call this a top priority.

Among all Americans, 51 percent said business tax cuts are a high priority, 47 percent said they are less important than that.

Other partisan differences abound, as Democrats and independents are more likely than Republicans to call each of the specific proposals high priorities, with the exception of those business tax cuts. At the other end of the scale, 52 percent of Democrats said an extension of unemployment and health benefits for laid-off workers was one of the highest priorities; just 21 percent of Republicans agree.

Overall, 84 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans backed a broadly-defined plan for new federal spending of about $800 billion to try to revive the nation's economy.

Here's the full list on the specifics, followed by a table broken down by party identification:

Q: I'm going to mention some items that could be included in the economic stimulus plan. For each, please tell me what kind of priority it should receive - the highest priority, a high priority but not the highest, or a lower priority than that.

1/16/09 - Summary Table*
                                   ------- High -------      
                                                       Lower/
                                   NET  Highest  High  none
Extending unemployment
  insurance and health care
  coverage for people who lose
  their jobs                       87    38       49    12
Doubling the production of
  alternative energy in the next
  three years                      86    41       45    14
Rebuilding roads, bridges and
  schools                          85    30       55    15
Upgrading schools with new
  technology                       84    33       51    15
Improving energy efficiency in
  homes and offices                78    26       52    21
Giving federal money to states
  to avoid cuts in state services  68    18       50    32
Putting a moratorium on home
  mortgage foreclosures            67    24       43    27
Updating power lines and the 
  system that distributes
  electricity around the country   66    17       49    33
Giving most working Americans
  a 500-dollar tax cut             63    23       40    36
Cutting taxes paid by 
  businesses and corporations      51    17       34    47
Computerizing all Americans'
  medical records in the next
  five years                       48    14       34    50
Expanding high-speed internet
  access to rural areas            26     7       19    73
*Questions asked of half samples.

By party identification:

Q. I'm going to mention some items that could be included in the economic stimulus plan. For each, please tell me what kind of priority it should receive - the highest priority, a high priority but not the highest, or a lower priority than that.

(% saying highest)
                                   Dems   Reps   Inds
Extending unemployment insurance
  and health care coverage for
  people who lose their jobs        52     21     40
Doubling the production of
  alternative energy in the next
  three years                       42     41     40
Rebuilding roads, bridges
  and schools                       38     21     29
Upgrading schools with new
  technology                        38     18     38
Improving energy efficiency in
  homes and offices                 31     17     26
Giving federal money to states to
  avoid cuts in state services      29      7     14
Putting a moratorium on home 
  foreclosures                      30     15     25
Updating power lines and the
  system that distributes power
  around the country                19     15     16
Giving most working Americans a
  500 dollar tax cut                26     19     24
Cutting taxes paid by businesses
  and corporations                  13     22     17
Computerizing all Americans' 
  medical records in the next
  five years                        15     12     16
Expanding high-speed internet
  access to rural areas              7      5      6

By Jon Cohen  |  January 26, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Accountability and the Doubt Factor
Next: Super Bowl XLIII: The Political Playbook

Comments

The events of the past six months, as well as those of the past thirty years, have thoroughly debunked faith-based economic theories, yet Republicans still cling to their superstitions about how wonderful everything would be if we just didn't have any government at all. This isn't economic theory, it's hoodoo.

I have not observed one instance in the past thirty years that provides evidence that cutting taxes stimulates the economy. I have not read one reasonable theory that purports to explain thow this magic is supposed to work, have had not one debate in which anyone proposed a means by which cutting taxes could stimulate the economy, yet Republicans cling to this assertion as an article of faith. Does this behavior reflect zealotry, or simple mendacity?

I'm a little surprised that people are so obtuse about the need to support state budget. The money that's to go to the states is money that keeps cops, firemen, schoolteachers, garbagemen, and similarly essential people employed. Not only are the services these people provide vital, the simple fact that they remain employed is stimulative to the economy.

Dependence on imported energy sources is one of our most critical weaknesses as a nation, yet the lukewarm support for those measures indicates that people aren't taking the threat of this dependence seriously.

Generally, these poll results appear to show that the American people aren't really taking this emergency very seriously yet. Maybe after unemployment spikes past 10%, more people will realize that this is not some made-up political game, but a real threat to the continued existence of the United States as a nation.

Posted by: lonquest | January 27, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

it looks nice on paper but the history of gov-t is based on a belieif of" catch 22 ""with all the kings men "and "catch 22"-tell not do not ask".

Posted by: geterdone1 | February 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

lets stand up for what this government is not doing for the people compared for what they think their doing for me?

Posted by: geterdone1 | February 1, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

the other day where I live a guy killed a emt that came to house to take care of him and pulls a long rifle and he kills the emt poor man and 2 other EMT RAN FROM WHILE WONDERING IF THEY ARE GOING TO BE KILLED, probably frantically run for their life with future post trumatic distress escape with their lifes and tried to keep their best friend alive to death i wonder if we wil allow this man to life is like a man who serves as a public servant as a cop to firefighter has more protectuion than a emtT?v I AM Destress because I wonder who I
can? This person should be treaty as though he killed a cop-firefighter-judge-etc

Posted by: geterdone1 | February 1, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

sorry i got a side tangent

Posted by: geterdone1 | February 1, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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