Most Americans want Congress to either reject the economic stimulus package now before Congress or make “major changes” to the plan, a new Gallup/USA Today poll discloses.
Three out of four respondents said they want Congress to pass some version of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package. But only 38 percent favor the existing package, 37 percent want major changes in the plan, and 17 percent reject the plan outright. The remainder have no opinion.
Among Republicans, 43 percent say it should pass with major changes, and 35 percent reject it outright.
Among Democrats, 59 percent would like to see the stimulus package passed without changes, 30 percent want major changes, and 4 percent reject the plan.
The Gallup poll of more than 1,000 adults also found that only 10 percent of respondents think the economy will improve this year as a result of the stimulus plan, and 53 percent think the plan will have no effect on their families or make their financial situations worse.
“While the majority of Americans favor Congress' passing some type of stimulus plan, there is remarkably little confidence on the part of the public that the plan would have an immediately positive impact on the U.S. economy,” Gallup observed.
“Americans are also pessimistic about the plan's potential positive impact on their own families' financial situations.”
And Charles Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who studies public opinion, told USA Today: “It’s sort of paradoxical: They’re both supportive and pessimistic.”
He added that President Obama “has been saying this is going to be a long process, so maybe it’s not so surprising that voters would pick up the idea that there’s no quick fix.”
The Senate has begun debate on an $885 billion stimulus bill. House Democrats passed an $819 billion version last week, with all Republicans voting against it.
Other findings of the poll:22 percent of respondents think Obama is moving too fast in dealing with the nation’s problems, 10 percent say he’s not moving fast enough, and 63 percent think he is “doing about right.”76 percent approve of Obama’s naming of special U.S. envoys to deal with Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.The same percentage approve of Obama’s move to restrict former lobbyists from working in the administration and restricting officials from working as lobbyists after leaving government.Only 44 percent approve of Obama’s order to close the detention center for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay within a year.58 percent disapprove of Obama’s order to allow funding for overseas family planning organizations that provide abortions.
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