Is The Stimulus Package Really Losing Support?

By Marc Ambinder

Perhaps a closer look at stimulus package polling is in order. Many reporters, myself included, have dutifully put forth the notion that the White House is losing support, which is true in a sense: as compared to when it was first contemplated, fewer Americans are lending their unequivocal support for the stimulus.  And the White House "is clearly not where we want to be," as spokesman Robert Gibbs noted today as he revealed the President's travel next week.  But the level of support now versus support from a week ago -- from the time when the public attacks against it began -- appears to be virtually unchanged. Indeed, the basic question asked by Gallup: "As you may know, Congress is considering a stimulus package worth of least $800 billion. Do you favor or oppose such legislation?" -- yields data unchanged since January 25, and, indeed, with a slight change of wording (a package of $775 billion), since early January.

Here's the Gallup number:

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As Pollster.com's Mark Blumenthal notes: "We have trends from only three pollsters and some have made small changes in question wording. As noted last week, small differences in wording and question format appear to make big differences in the level of support measured."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/02/is-the-stimulus-package-really-losing-support/428/