Would You Like Spending With That Stimulus Plan?

Ruy Teixeira analyzes public opinion and finds that the public doesn’t share conservatives’ aversion to government spending.

Part of a Series

The public is giving a very friendly reception to the economic stimulus plan proposed by the incoming Obama administration. This is despite conservatives’ attempts to discredit the plan by saying it is too heavy on ineffective spending and will increase the deficit.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, asked the public whether the plan is a good idea because “it will help make the recession shorter, get people back to work, and provide money for transportation, education, and Medicaid programs” or a bad idea because “it will do little to shorten the recession, the jobs are temporary, and it will significantly increase the deficit.” By 57 percent to 36 percent, the public deemed the plan a good idea.

Chart One

Moreover, when asked whether the stimulus plan’s most important priority should be tax cuts or spending, the public sided almost 2:1 (63-33) with government spending.

Chart Two

The two ideas that generated the highest levels of support when the poll asked about specific parts of the economic stimulus were direct spending programs: “creating jobs through increasing production of renewable energy and making schools and public buildings more energy efficient” (89 percent support) and “creating jobs through building or repairing roads and bridges” (85 percent support).

Chart Three

Conservatives may still be hostile to government spending, but the public—especially in today’s context—does not share their aversion.

About CAP’s stimulus plan:

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

Explore The Series