There’s a lot of interesting data in the NBC/WSJ poll, although much of it is good news for the Dems and sobering news for the GOP (there’s been so much sobering news the last four years I feel like drinking). However, one positive nugget for the GOP in the data deals with the economic stimulus package.
In January, 43% said that the economic stimulus legislation was a good idea, while 27% say it is a bad idea. Just one month later, “good idea” has stayed static at 44%, while “bad idea” has jumped nine points to 36%.
By party, Democrats are wildly optimistic – 66% say it is a good idea, while 14% say it is a bad idea. Independents are evenly divided (41% good idea/36% bad idea), while GOPers have become considerably more negative – moving from a skeptical point of view in January (26% good idea/42% bad idea) to a very negative view (14% good idea/70% bad idea).
Further, only 31% believe the stimulus package will help the American economy over the next twelve months a great deal (8%) or quite a bit (23%), while 66% say it will only help a little (51%) or not at all (15%). Given a longer term horizon of four years, only 37% say it will help a great deal/quite a bit, while 59% say it will only help a little or not at all.
Only 18% of Independents think it will help a great deal/quite a bit, which is only slightly higher than the 7% among GOPers. In comparison, Dems are wildly optimistic (53%). In polling, it is a good sign when opinion among Independents are much closer to your partisans than to your opposition’s partisans.
So while the GOP has been declared dead, but like in the famed Monty Python movie, they’re not dead yet – the messaging on the pork barrel spending in the stimulus package is starting to sink in. Fully 36% say their biggest concern with the stimulus package is “too much pork barrel spending,” while 21% each say there aren’t enough tax cuts to individuals, and 21% say spending is focused on the wrong areas.”
The battle hasn’t been won yet, as Independents are the key to winning the public opinion fight. But, a month of withering fire has significantly undermined public support for a very questionable policy.