Among conservatives, it is an article of faith that the stimulus plan was a complete waste of money and totally ineffective. They have also convinced themselves that the public shares their unremittingly bleak view of the stimulus.
But perhaps that’s not true. Recent data suggest the public, unlike conservatives, thinks that the stimulus—whatever its flaws might have been—played an important role in keeping the economy from getting far worse than it did. In a new United Technologies/National Journal poll, respondents were given a description of the stimulus program—from the standpoint of both its supporters and its detractors—and asked how much they’d heard or seen about the program. Almost all (85 percent) had heard at least something about the stimulus.
Those who had heard at least something about the stimulus program were then asked whether the stimulus was the right or wrong thing to do for the country. A solid majority (55 percent) thought the stimulus program was the right thing to do.
Evidently the public doesn’t have as much trouble as conservatives seeing the good the stimulus program did. In the public’s view, the stimulus may not have been perfect, but it was integral to helping our economy get back on track.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.