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Public Opinion Snapshot: A Mandate for Big Change

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Poll after poll shows that the public has very positive feelings toward President Barack Obama and his plans for the country. And that includes the major new programs that he is proposing to bring change to a country that badly needs it. A stunning 71 percent of respondents in the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, for example, said that Obama has a mandate to “work for major new economic and social programs” rather than for small policy changes.

Chart One

The public definitely sees Obama’s proposed stimulus program fitting into that mandate, despite the high price tag. A description of the program that specifically mentions a cost figure of $800 billion still garners 70-27 support from the public.

Chart Two

The public is clearly ready for large-scale action. Yet conservatives are already raising objections to President Obama’s proposals, saying that they cost too much money and aren’t really needed. These complaints are not only ill founded; they clash directly with the public’s view of Obama’s mandate. Such obstruction could wind up making conservatives even more unpopular then they already are.

Read more public opinion analysis from Ruy Teixeira.

More on CAP’s stimulus plan:

Report: How to Spend $350 Billion in a First Year of Stimulus and Recovery

Infographic: Four Reasons We Can’t Afford Not to Have One

Video: Designing a Stimulus that Will Get the Economy Moving Fast

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or


This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here