Via Power Line, it appears as if the State of the Union speech had little impact on the electorate’s desire for “investments.” Despite Barack Obama’s reference to a “Sputnik moment,” Rasmussen’s poll of voters on the issue of spending showed almost no movement at all from the pre-speech baseline. In fact, it got ever so slightly more negative:
The president’s Tuesday night State of the Union speech had little impact on support for his new spending proposals in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation.
Rasmussen Reports asked voters the same three questions about the president’s economic proposals on the two nights prior to the speech and then again on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
On the first two nights, 39% supported the proposals. On the next two nights, support was 41%.
Fifty percent (50%) of Likely U.S. Voters now oppose the federal government spending more money in areas like education, transportation and technological innovation, up from 45% in the previous survey. Forty-one percent (41%) favor the idea, a two-point increase from before. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
On the issue of overall spending and the economy, a near-majority of 49% believe spending cuts will benefit the economy more than spending. Just over a third believe more spending will stimulate the economy. Among independents, however, 61% back spending cuts against only 23% that want increased spending. Obama didn’t even really make the sale among Democrats; only 57% believe more spending will boost the economy.
As for Obama’s promise to cut the deficit in half in his first term, hardly anyone bought that promise either. Among all voters, only 22% thought it was somewhat or very likely, while 73% thought it not very or not at all likely. Independents split 12/83, even more harshly than Republicans at 16/82. Once again, Democrats didn’t buy it either, with a 35/55 split.
On that score, though, Obama might find himself rescued by Republicans. They have promised to attack government spending in the next two budget cycles, starting with a token reduction in what’s left of the FY2011 budgeting. Rand Paul wants to cut $500 billion right now, which would take Obama about two-thirds of the way towards his promise — assuming that he’d sign Paul’s plan, which he most assuredly will not. Perhaps that’s why Republicans find their popularity on the upswing in the latest Gallup poll:
Americans’ opinions of the Republican Party have improved to the point where now more have a favorable than unfavorable opinion of the party. The last time more Americans viewed the GOP more positively than negatively was in 2005.
For the early part of the 2000s, Americans had a net-positive image of the Republican Party. That changed in 2005, as Americans soured on the Bush administration over the ongoing Iraq war, the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and rising gas prices, among other issues. After the 2006 midterm elections, which saw Americans remove the Republicans as the majority party in Congress, the Republicans’ ratings were 35% favorable and 58% unfavorable.
The Republican Party’s image remained negative over the next two years as the economy worsened, except for a 47%-47% reading after the party’s well-received national convention in 2008, which ended days before the financial crisis intensified. Just after Americans elected Barack Obama to replace Bush later that year, the Republicans’ net-favorable score was -27 (34% favorable, 61% unfavorable) — the worst Gallup has measured in this trend dating to 1992.
The GOP now rates a 47/43 in favorability for a plus-4. Democrats also bounced back a little from their 41/54 nadir in early 2010 to 46/47. Unlike the GOP, though, Democrats have rarely had negative favorability in Gallup’s polling. The polling was done well before the SOTU speech but just days after the Tucson shooting, which indicates that respondents largely ignored the “heated rhetoric” meme.