PRINCETON, NJ -- Among four pieces of legislation Congress could consider this year, Americans are most supportive of authorizing more economic stimulus spending. Specifically, according to a June 11-13 USA Today/Gallup poll, 60% of Americans say they would favor "additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy."
Nearly as many Americans -- 56% -- favor regulating energy output from private companies, a key element of the "cap and trade" bill that has been stalled in Congress and that President Obama alluded to in his Tuesday night Oval Office address. However, it should be noted that the question highlights the positive goal of reducing global warming, but not any of the potential costs for business and consumers.
Independents Open to All Proposals
Republicans and Democrats are diametrically opposed in their reactions to the proposals tested in the new poll, while a slim majority of independents favor all four -- including repealing healthcare reform.
Large majorities of Democrats would like to see increased regulation of financial institutions, new laws regulating energy use by private companies, and more economic stimulus spending; smaller majorities of Republicans oppose each of these. Conversely, Republicans broadly favor repealing the new healthcare reform law, while two-thirds of Democrats are opposed.
Stimulus spending emerges as the most widely favored proposal of the four, overall, because of support that is particularly high from Democrats (83%) and relatively high from Republicans (38%) compared with the other Democrat-favored items.
The American public has a generally positive reaction to each of four varied pieces of legislation Congress might consider this year, with slim majorities of political independents in favor of all of them. While none of the four proposals bridges partisan disagreement, the idea of new economic stimulus spending to create jobs generates the most crossover appeal from Republicans while achieving particularly high support from Democrats.
Americans' support for jobs-directed stimulus spending may seem at odds with separate Gallup polling showing significant public concern about the federal debt. However, it should be noted that the stimulus question wording highlights the economic benefits of new spending. In line with this, recent Gallup polling has found that despite their debt concerns, more Americans choose the economy than the federal budget deficit when asked how important each will be to their vote for Congress this fall.
Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-13, 2010, with a random sample of 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.