The green shoots growing the minds of the American people have begun to wither, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll.
Overall, 52 per cent now say the stimulus package has or will succeed in restoring the economy, down from 59 per cent two months ago. The falloff in confidence in the stimulus package has been sharpest in the hard-hit Midwest, where fewer than half now see the government spending as succeeding. In April, six in 10 Midwesterners said the big, federal program had already worked or eventually would do so.
The shift in public assessments has clear political ramifications: At the 100-day mark of Obama’s presidency, 63 per cent of people in states that were decided by fewer than 10 points in November said the stimulus had or would boost the economy. Today, in the telephone poll of 1,001 Americans conducted Thursday through Sunday, that number has plummeted to 50 per cent in those closely-contested states, with 47 per cent saying it won’t help the national economy.
The falloff since April cuts across partisan lines. Confidence in the package’s effectiveness has dropped from 81 per cent to 73 per cent among Democrats and from 32 per cent to 26 per cent among Republicans. Independents dropped from 56 per cent to 50 per cent. What was once a clearly positive assessment of the program among independents (56 to 39 per cent) is now an almost evenly split (50 to 47percent).