Was the Stimulus "Politically Disastrous"?
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Mar 11, 2010 at 01:59:40 PM EST
The Atlantic's Max Fisher says it is, calling it "hugely important but politically disastrous." But was the stimulus bill, known also as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, really "politically disastrous"?
Let's go to the polling. The most recent polling on the stimulus, from CNN in mid-January, found that just 42 percent of respondents still favored the stimulus while 56 percent opposed it -- not great numbers, but also probably not "politically disastrous" (but that's just, ya know, like, my opinion).
Digging deeper into the CNN numbers, the "disastrous[ness]" of the stimulus becomes even less clear, though. According to the survey, a substantial 58 percent majority of Americans believe that the stimulus either improved conditions (12 percent) or prevented conditions from becoming even worse (46 percent). Just 22 percent stated a belief that the stimulus had no effect, and an even smaller 19 percent responded that the stimulus made economic conditions worse.
Far from indicating that the stimulus is "politically disastrous," these numbers seem to indicate that a sizable majority of the American people realize that things could have been a lot worse had the stimulus not been passed by the President and the Democratic Congress. Again, this isn't to say that the stimulus is wildly popular, because it's clearly not. At the same time, it's hard to see how one could argue it to have been a political disaster for the Democrats.