Popularity of stimulus package dropping

posted at 8:39 am on January 30, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The bad news from Rasmussen?  More people support the Obama stimulus package than oppose it.  The good news?  The gap between them is less than the margin of error, down from 11 points last week.  In a new Rasmussen poll, the Porkfest Formerly Known As Stimulus only gets 42% support, while 39% oppose it:

Public support for the economic recovery plan crafted by President Obama and congressional Democrats has slipped a bit over the past week. At the same time, expectations that the plan will quickly become law have increased.

Forty-two percent (42%) of the nation’s likely voters now support the president’s plan, roughly one-third of which is tax cuts with the rest new government spending. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 39% are opposed to it and 19% are undecided. Liberal voters overwhelmingly support the plan while conservatives are strongly opposed.

Last week, support for the President’s plan was at 45% and opposition at 34%.

Rasmussen has only started polling on this, so that’s the extent of their trending.  The nine-point drop in the gap over a one-week period shows that the electorate has gotten more skeptical about massive government spending.  Republicans have done a good job of getting their message out, and they have succeeded especially among independents.  A week ago, independents had a virtual dead heat on the bill, 37%-36% in favor.  Now independents oppose it 50%-27%.  Democrats really are on their own with this bill.

Republicans also appear to have made gains by offering their tax-cut alternatives.  That approach gets a plurality for support, 43%-39%, and a stronger plurality among independents, 48%-33%.

Democrats rattled some sabers yesterday by threatening to withdraw the tax cuts after getting no Republican votes.  According to Rasmussen, a plan with only government spending gets the worst response of all.  Overall, voters oppose that idea 70%-15%, and it flops in every demographic Rasmussen tracks.  Even Democratic voter oppose it by a solid majority, 57%-23%, as do self-described liberals, 54%-29%.

The Democrats are on thin ice with this package.  It’s not exactly unpopular, but it’s starting to get there.  They need Republicans badly in the Senate, but will they start negotiating and begin to trim off the excessive spending to get them on board?  The House Democrats wouldn’t do it, and it will be interesting to see whether Harry Reid will want to bargain or to give a demonstration of power.  The Gang of 14 effort being spearheaded by Ben Nelson might help, but Republicans need to hold firm and insist that all non-immediate and non-stimulus spending get stripped — which would probably make this a $120 billion bill rather than the $900 billion version sitting in the Senate.


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