Surprise: Public support for stimulus starting to collapse

Turns out Americans don’t like it when they drop $800 billion to keep people working and unemployment continues to rise.

It’s your economy now, champ.

Overall, 52 percent now say the stimulus package has or will succeed in restoring the economy, down from 59 percent two months ago. The falloff in confidence in the stimulus package has been sharpest in the hard-hit Midwest, where fewer than half now see the government spending as succeeding. In April, six in 10 Midwesterners said the big, federal program had already worked or eventually would do so.

The shift in public assessments has clear political ramifications: At the 100-day mark of Obama’s presidency, 63 percent of people in states that were decided by fewer than 10 points in November said the stimulus had or would boost the economy. Today, in the telephone poll of 1,001 Americans conducted Thursday through Sunday, that number has plummeted to 50 percent in those closely-contested states, with 47 percent saying it won’t help the national economy.

The falloff since April cuts across partisan lines. Confidence in the package’s effectiveness has dropped from 81 percent to 73 percent among Democrats and from 32 percent to 26 percent among Republicans. Independents dropped from 56 percent to 50 percent. What was once a clearly positive assessment of the program among independents (56 to 39 percent) is now an almost evenly split (50 to 47percent).

The number who say America’s on the right track is down too, from 50 percent positive in April to 47/50 now. And that’s not all:

Two weak points on the domestic front remain: Obama still gets tepid marks on his handling of the situation with the big U.S. automakers and as many people disapprove as approve of his Obama’s handling of the federal budget deficit. On the deficit, intensity runs against the president, with 35 percent “strongly” disapproving, compared with 22 percent who say they are solidly behind what he’s doing on that topic…

One factor that continues to work for Obama, however, is that most Americans continue to see him as a new type of Democrat, one “who will be careful with the public’s money,” rather than an old-style, “tax-and-spend Democrat.”

Just sit tight on that last bit. The tax hikes are coming.

His personal popularity’s still rock solid at 65 percent but amazingly his ratings on foreign policy are higher than his ratings on domestic, which is supposed to be his bread and butter. If health-care reform falls through and he can’t figure out a way to postpone tax increases until his second term, what exactly does this guy have to run on in 2012, let alone in the midterms next year? The fact that the jobless recovery could have been somewhat worse? The new hybrid crapbox produced by GM? He’d better make those July 4th burgers extra tasty because the way things are shaping up, a nuke deal with Iran might be the only thing to save him.

Update: In case you’re wondering where those “jobs created or saved” numbers are coming from, it’s simple. If the feds drop enough cash on your employer that he/she can pay you with it, your job’s been “saved” — even if he didn’t need the money and wasn’t preparing to fire you.