Monday, February 09, 2009

Gallup / CNN polls show Obama having upper hand in stimulus fight

I have found two public opinion polls that are showing some interesting results in the economic stimulus fight between President Barack Obama and the congressional Republicans. First is this Gallup public opinion poll:

PRINCETON, NJ -- The American public gives President Barack Obama a strong 67% approval rating for the way in which he is handling the government's efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, while the Democrats and, in particular, the Republicans in Congress receive much lower approval ratings of 48% and 31%, respectively.

These findings, based on Gallup Poll interviews conducted Feb. 6-7, underscore the degree to which Obama appears to be maintaining the upper hand over his opponents from a public opinion perspective as he and congressional leaders wrangle over the precise form and substance of a new economic stimulus plan. (Recent Gallup polling also shows that a slight majority of Americans in general favor the idea of passing a stimulus plan of around $800 billion, a sentiment that has stayed constant over the last several weeks.)

Obama will address the stimulus issue before a nationwide audience on Monday night with his first prime-time news conference. He will also conduct town-hall meetings this week in Elkhart, Ind., and Fort Myers, Fla., as part of his efforts to help sell his view of the urgency of passing a stimulus package. The new Gallup data certainly suggest that these public relations efforts will find a generally receptive audience.

The data in particular show the sharp divide between the public's views of how Obama has handled efforts to pass a stimulus bill and its views of how the Republicans have handled this -- a divide that quantitatively produces a 36-point approval gap.

So we have 67 percent of Americans approving of President Obama's efforts in passing the economic stimulus bill, while 58 percent of Americans disapprove of the Republican obstructionism against the economic stimulus bill. And yet, the GOP is claiming victory in their opposition against the Obama stimulus plan. Who are they trying to sell this victory to?

The answer to that question is their 31 percent base, who will support the GOP regardless of how far the Republican Party will send this country into a huge disaster. These are the extreme conservatives, the Bible-thumpers--the folks who still give President Bush a 33 percent job approval rating as he left office. What this Gallup poll says is that all the rantings from the Republican congressmen, all the talk of finding their opposition voice, and all the obstructionism of the Obama stimulus plan, is really a PR-campaign to rally their base in opposing the Obama administration. This is a campaign to curry higher conservative voter turnout in the upcoming midterm elections to regain congressional seats, and hopefully control, of Congress. It is playing politics over policy. What is especially frightening is that if the GOP is successful in blocking enough of the stimulus package to make it impotent enough in failing to pull the U.S. economy out of its recession, there will probably be even greater economic pain for middle-class Americans, and probably for the base of the GOP residing in the southern states, and the Midwest. Economic pain for a high-stakes GOP power play.

A new CNN poll also shows similar results to the Gallup poll. From

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A new national poll suggests that three out of four Americans approve of the job Barack Obama's doing as President — but the economic stimulus package he's trying to push through Congress is not nearly as popular.

Seventy-six percent of those quesioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday give President Obama a thumbs-up when it comes to the way he's performing his duties, with 23 percent disapproving of the way Obama's handling his job as president.

And the CNN poll has these interesting details:

Three out of four Democrats support the bill, but that number drops to 51 percent for self-identified independents, and just 32 percent for Republicans. Nearly seven in ten Republicans questioned oppose the bill.

"Partisanship is alive and well — not just in the House and Senate, but in the rank-and-file as well," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The partisan split that has been a staple of American public opinion for decades is alive and well."


Sixty-four percent of those polled say the current bill being debated in the Senate would help the economy a lot or somewhat, with 36 percent feeling that the package would not help the economy much or at all.

"The public may be lukewarm on the stimulus package because they only see limited benefits from it," Holland said. "Sixteen percent say it would help the economy a lot, but 48 percent foresee only some improvements if the bill passes."

The CNN poll shows a partisan divide with a three-quarters majority of Democrats supporting the bill, a 51 percent majority of independents supporting the bill, and a 70-percent majority of Republicans opposed to the bill. The Gallup poll also shows a partisan divide between the stimulus bill, but the results are more muddled with the Republican base:

Previous research has suggested that there is a sharp partisan divide concerning almost everything involved with the massive economic stimulus plan. The sense of urgency that it be passed is no exception.

Only 29% of Republicans are willing to say that passing a new stimulus bill is critically important, contrasted with the nearly two-thirds of Democrats who hold this view.

Still, a clear majority of Republicans say it's at least important to pass the bill.

The Gallup poll confirms with the CNN poll that only around a third of the Republicans support the stimulus bill, while the rest may think it is not important, or somewhat important. I'm guessing that the results were skewered by both the way the Gallup question was asked, and in its responses. But still, both polls show that, while the Obama administration may have wanted to bring bipartisanship into this stimulus bill, partisanship still remains both inside Congress, and the American people.

And yet, regardless of political party affiliation, Americans want some type of economic stimulus plan passed by their government. The CNN poll shows that 64 percent believe that the current stimulus bill would help the U.S. economy a lot, or somewhat. The Gallup poll shows that 51 percent of Americans believe the stimulus plan is "critically important" helping the U.S. economy, while 29 percent say the stimulus plan is "important." In other words, Americans support some type of economic stimulus plan to halt this U.S. economic slide. Americans want the government to help them out of this economic malaise. If an economic stimulus plan is not passed, then the lawmakers in Washington are going to feel a very serious wrath from the American people--regardless of party affiliation here.


nunya said...

And you? What do you think?

Eric A Hopp said...

Hello Nunya:

Thank you for your comment. What do I think? I think we are going to be in for a very hard year, and a long four years. The Republicans are playing a very high-stakes poker game in betting everything on obstructing President Obama in the hopes that the American people will blame the Obama administration for the current economic downturn, and will vote the Republicans back into power either in 2010 or 2012. It is more important for the GOP to gain power, even at the expense of destroying the country and sending Americans into even more economic hardship, than it is for the Republicans to produce good political policies and legislation to help this country as a whole. You can see that in the polls, where the American people support President Obama's handling of the stimulus bill, and even a slight majority supporting the Democrats in Congress on the stimulus bill. But there is the clear 58 percent of American public's disapproval of the congressional Republican opposition to the stimulus bill. The GOP is going against what the country wants.

There is another interesting factor to consider in this poll. Going with the first Gallup poll number, 67 percent of Americans approve of President Obama's efforts to pass the stimulus plan, while 25 percent disapprove. For the Republicans in Congress, 31 percent of Americans approve of the GOP opposition to the plan, while 58 percent disapprove. What I find interesting here is the 25 percent Americans opposed to Obama and the 31 percent approval of the congressional Republicans. I believe that they represent the same, hard-core, conservative Republican voters that supported President George W. Bush's two terms--we're talking about the same hard-core 30 percent Bush supporters here. This is the GOP's base. These are the people that the Republican Party is selling their "opposition" status to. These are the people that the GOP is currying votes for in the next election. They are trying to rally their base. In one sense, the GOP is succeeding because the partisanship still remains in both this country, and in Congress. Both the GOP and CNN polls showed the partisan divide within the public on the stimulus bill. Again, the GOP will attempt to use the anger, the partisan bickering, and what Republicans hope will be an economic disaster for the Obama administration, as a political means to regain power back in Washington. Playing politics is everything to the Republicans.

nunya said...

"This is the GOP's base."

I laughed when I read this.

Double entendre?

I wish I could get some of the GOP strategists to read some of the stuff I read, & I don't mean the latest crap I picked up at the library.

Thank you for answering my question.