A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 30% of voters nationwide believe the $787-billion economic stimulus plan has helped the economy. However, 38% believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy. This is the first time since the legislation passed that a plurality has held a negative view of its impact.
The number who believe that the stimulus plan has hurt the economy rose from 28% in September, to 31% in October, and 34% inNovember before jumping to 38% this month. The week after the president signed the bill, 34% said it would help the economy, while 32% said it would hurt.
The Political Class has a much different view than the rest of the county. Ninety percent (90%) of the Political Class believes the stimulus plan helped the economy and not a single Political Class respondent says it has hurt. (See more on the Political Class).
The underlying reason for skepticism about the stimulus plan is that 50% of voters believe increasing government spending is bad for the economy. Just 28% believe that increased government spending helps the economy.
Men, by a 42% to 27% margin, believe the stimulus effort has hurt the economy. Women are evenly divided.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of Democrats believe the stimulus plan has helped the economy while 47% of Republicans believe it has hurt. Among those not affiliated with either major political party, 52% believe the stimulus plan has had a negative impact.
Concerns about federal budget deficits also play a role in evaluating the stimulus spending. Voters continue to think that the president's top budget priority should be cutting the federal deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. But they see it as the goal the president is least likely to achieve.
Health care reform is second on the list of priorities for voters, but most oppose the health care plan working its way through Congress.
Not surprisingly, most Americans are opposed to a second stimulus plan. In fact, 51% of voters say more jobs would be created if the remaining ending planned in the first stimulus plan was cancelled right away.
Only 14% of American workers say their firms are hiring and 29% say their employers are laying people off. As a result, 67% expect that unemployment will be at 10% or higher a year from now.