Support for Economic Stimulus Package Increases

Conservatives tried their best to derail President Obama’s economic stimulus package, but public support only rose, writes Ruy Teixeira.

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Conservatives tried their best to derail President Obama’s economic stimulus package. They accused it of being a big government, big spending wish list loaded with pork that would do little to create jobs. And they found a few items in the House version of the bill to beat up on publicly and claim were representative of the whole wasteful package. But despite all their weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, support for Obama’s package wound up increasing, not decreasing.

The latest Gallup poll shows that support for the stimulus package has reached 59 percent in favor and just 33 percent opposed, despite the fact that the question mentions a price tag of “at least $800 billion.” That’s up from 52-38 in favor on February 4.

Chart One

What’s the explanation? Pretty simple: The public just doesn’t buy conservatives’ ideological hysteria about the bill and understands that it is necessary to pass the package as soon as possible.

A new Democracy Corps poll asked voters whether the economic recovery plan “mostly includes tax cuts and programs designed to help the economy and create or save jobs” or “mostly includes pork spending and political priorities that won’t do enough to help the economy or create jobs.” Voters rejected the latter, conservative argument by 60-37.

Chart Two

No wonder the public is giving President Obama such high approval ratings on handling the economic stimulus bill (67 percent). They agree with him! Perhaps the conservatives need to rethink their knee-jerk opposition to this administration’s priorities.

Chart Three

More from CAP on economic recovery:

Animation: How the Recovery Works

Video: Michael Ettlinger on What Happens Next

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Ruy Teixeira

Former Former Senior Fellow

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