For 62 Percent of Americans, the Justification for Stimulus Spending Falls Flat

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The justification for several rounds of stimulus spending, as President Obama explains it, is to boost hiring and provide a "jolt" to the stalled economy. However, a recent IPSOS Public Affairs poll finds that a clear majority of Americans are not convinced these stimulus policies have had a positive or meaningful impact on the economy. Rather, 62 percent believe that the stimulus bills Congress has approved in recent years have resulted in greater debt, compared to 28 percent who believe they have helped the economy. Moreover, 82 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents agree that stimulus spending created more debt, compared to 44 percent of Democrats. 

Voters also report that the U.S. budget deficit will impact their vote choice. Sixty two percent of Americans say a candidate's efforts to reduce the budget deficit will be "very important" in their decision to vote for that candidate. A majority is reached among all major political groups, including 72 percent of Republicans, 59 percent of Independents, and 52 percent of Democrats.

Not surprisingly, an even larger number, 77 percent of Americans, say that a candidate's efforts to create jobs will be "very important" in their decision to vote for that candidate. A clear majority is also reached among major political groups, with 84 percent among Republicans, 64 percent among Independents, and 78 percent among Democrats.

Survey Methods: Ipsos Poll conducted for Reuters, November 2011

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Reuters from October 31st through Nov 3rd, 2011. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of exactly 1,106 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos via live telephone interviewing on landlines and cell phones. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled.

All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish. Please note that throughout this document, figures based on Independent voters are indicative only due to small sample size. Figures marked by an asterisk (*) indicate a percentage value of greater than zero but less than one half of a per cent. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. Responses are based on the full sample of adults unless otherwise noted.

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  1. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish.

  2. Why would our over extended credit, and unsurmountable debt NOT lead us to the legalization of marijuana?

    1. Legalization would be a massive help to the economy, with new industry being created through industrial hemp creating jobs, and that’s not even considering the medical and recreational markets.

      1. And not considering the law enforcement resources that could be redeployed to more beneficial ends.

  3. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish. Please note that throughout this document, figures based on Independent voters are indicative only due to small sample size.

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  14. So Obama got his shot, he got his money. He then used said money to buy off his political friends, with relatively little of it doing any stimulating. Obama (and his entire administration) has simply failed at administrating.

    Good luck convincing the American people to trust you with more money, Mr. President.

  15. Try getting the American people to trust the opinions of their fellow Americans. As Gorgias said, “Opinion is uncertain, and involves those who believe it in equally uncertain fortunes.” There is not a single fact in this article as to whether it is actually true or not that the bailouts did nothing to affect our lives, merely that that Americans have a general perception which they are allowing to affect their voting records. As Freud says in Civilization and it’s Discontents, “By allowing common feeling to be our guide in deciding what features of human life are to be regared as civilized, we have obtained a clear impression of the general picture of civilization; but it is true that so far we have discovered nothing that is not universally known.”

    The picture we create does seem to hint at the ideal, rather than at just base motivations. The general picture or model for civilization that emerges from the popular sentiment is in fact that the government shouldn’t bail out banks before the people. This does measure up to the higher ideals upon which we’ve mapped our society: the state is a Commonwealth, and equality and social welfare number highly amongst it’s duties: if that is the true ideal, perhaps we should be arguing about that.

    Otherwise we have to get into a complicated fiscal argument about whether or not the bailouts worked, and that is where political philosophy tends to get lost, or sold out. But in fact, the opinions of the people do not prove whether or not the bailouts helped, or whether the executive branch was supporting us (and in fact, Obama has tried to push his Jobs act through, which would provide tax relief, as well as multiple small business impetuses, which also helped the little guy), or whether in fact there has been a failure of the people to support our executive branch. You can have your opinion one way or another now, but you will see the truth of the matter in the harsh glaring light of the reality you have made yourself after the election.

  16. All this proves is that propaganda works. The right-wing media has been claiming nonstop that the stimulus was a failure, and that the deficit is a crisis. Objectively, neither claim is true. But that doesn’t change the fact that many millions of Americans believe the lies.

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  18. Reason-Rupe Q3 2011 poll collected a nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents, aged 18 and older from all 50 states and the District of Columbia using live telephone interviews from August 9-18 2011. The margin of sampling error for this poll is ? 3 percent. The margin of error for the GOP presidential race numbers is ? 4.79 percent. Interviews were conducted with respondents using both landline (790) and mobile phones (410). Landline respondents were randomly selected within households based on the adult who had the most recent birthday. Sample was weighted by gender, age, ethnicity, and Census region, based on the most recent US Census data. The sampling frame included landline and mobile phone numbers generated using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) methods and randomly selected numbers from a directory-listed sample. Clickhere for full methodological details. NSON Opinion Strategy conducted the poll’s fieldwork. View full methodology. – ????? ??????
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