Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid counted on a significant honeymoon period after the inauguration to ensure passage of their bloated Generational Theft Act, or as they call it, the “stimulus” package. After forcing the bill through the House without allowing any Republican input on its makeup, the bill has landed in a more hostile Senate, where even Democrats wonder aloud how many votes it will get in its present form. They seem to have their fingers on the pulse of America, because according to the latest Gallup poll, the honeymoon has already ended:
A strong majority of Americans (75%) want Congress to pass some version of President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, but this group is split down the middle on whether it should be passed as is or with major changes.
Naturally, support for the plan is highly partisan. Although few Republicans favor passing the plan as it is, more than 4 out of 10 say it should be passed with major changes, leaving only a minority of 35% of Republicans who say the plan should be rejected altogether. A majority of Democrats, on the other hand, say Obama’s plan should be passed as is. Independents mirror the attitudes of the nation as a whole, split down the middle about passing it as is or with major changes.
The plan gets an as-is thumb’s-up from only 59% of Democrats, though, while more than a third want major changes to the plan or no bill at all. Only 37% of independents support this bill in its current form, and only 13% of Republicans. In both groups, the plurality calls for major changes to the stimulus bill; 43% of Republicans want “major changes”, while 35% want to stop the bill altogether. Americans want to see some kind of government action, but not the plan Obama and the House Democrats shoved down their throats.
Even worse for the Obama administration, the mood about the current bill is very pessimistic. A whopping 78% of respondents are concerned that this bill won’t stimulate the economy quickly enough to matter, evenly split between “somewhat” and “very” concerned. Only 17% believe the plan will make the economy “a lot better” over any time frame, and 47% think it will only make it “a little better”. Only 10% thought this package would improve the economy in 2009. Fifty-three percent believe it would either have no effect on their personal situation or would make matters worse.
For a $1.2 trillion package, those are pretty low expectations, and probably what drives the pessimism and the growing resistance to the effort. If Senate Democrats are paying attention to those numbers, expect an effort to begin cutting the pork out and trying to find political cover among Republicans by getting them involved in drafting a new version.