Most Americans Want Economic Stimulus Policies

Posted January 7, 2003 at 12:00pm

Sixty-four percent told NBC News/Wall Street Journal interviewers in December that “the president and Congress need to adopt a set of policies to stimulate the economy,” while 28 percent said “the economy was recovering on its own and we do not need government programs to stimulate the economy.” When asked what would help the most, 29 percent said stimulating the economy with tax cuts, and 20 percent said stimulating it with additional spending. Forty-two percent said neither was necessary at this point.

[IMGCAP(1)] In the mid-December Harris Interactive, Time and CNN poll, just 44 percent said President Bush was doing a good job handling the economy, a rating that has been slipping for the past year. Fifty-one percent said he was doing a poor job. In the poll, 8 percent said the job done by the president’s economic advisers was very good, 43 percent good, 26 percent fairly poor and 16 percent poor.

Bush and the Supreme Court. The Dec. 12-15 Los Angeles Times poll found that 59 percent thought Bush’s nominees to the Supreme Court would be conservative, 15 percent said they would be moderate and 12 percent liberal.

When those people who had an opinion of what the new justices’ ideological dispositions might be were asked how this would affect their views, 37 percent said they would be pleased, 24 percent upset, and 36 percent said the nominees’ ideological orientations would make no difference to them.

The 50-50 Nation. Forty-three percent told Gallup, CNN and USA Today interviewers in mid-December that the Republican Party better shared their values, but 42 percent said the Democratic Party did. There is no mistaking the results. When the organizations repeated the question a little later in December, the results were 42 percent to 42 percent.

In the mid-December ABC News/Washington Post poll, 41 percent said they trusted Democrats to do a better job in coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years, while 44 percent said they trusted Republicans.

Gore-versus-Bush Rematch. Fifty-four percent told Fox News/Opinion Dynamics interviewers in mid-December that they were happy that there would not be a rematch between Bush and former Vice President Al Gore in 2004, 19 percent were unhappy, and 22 percent volunteered that they didn’t care. Forty-five percent of Democrats are happy, but 30 percent of them were unhappy.

[IMGCAP(2)] Latino Attitudes. The Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a substantial poll on Latino attitudes. The sample is large enough to look with confidence at the views of foreign-born and native Latinos and first-, second- and third-generation Latinos. Blacks and non-Latino whites were also surveyed for comparison purposes. International Communication Research did the fieldwork for the survey from April to June 2002.

The survey shows that Latinos are more culturally conservative than non-Latino whites. Divorce, homosexuality and abortion are less acceptable to them than to non-Latino whites. Latinos like Bush, but they are more likely to identify with the Democratic Party than the Republican Party. One reason for their preference for Democrats may be their strong support for government action. Sixty percent in the survey said they would prefer to pay higher taxes to support a larger government that provides more services. Only 35 percent of non-Latino whites gave that response.

Latinos’ Views About Opportunity. Latinos’ views about opportunity in America in the new Pew poll are particularly impressive. Eighty percent of those surveyed say they are confident Latino children will get a better education than the one they received and 76 percent were confident that Latino children will have better jobs and make more money. Eighty-nine percent believe that the opportunity to get ahead is better in the United States than the country they or their parents came from. Sixty-eight percent say the treatment of the poor is better in the United States, too. Reflecting their cultural conservatism, only 28 percent of the Latinos surveyed said that moral values are better in the United States, and only 21 percent believed family ties were stronger.

Keeping Secrets. Forty-one percent in Harris Interactive, Time and CNN’s mid-December poll said the Bush administration has been too secretive in how decisions are made, but 56 percent did not feel that way.

Whistleblowing. Seventy-three percent in the Harris Interactive, Time and CNN poll said they would become a whistleblower if they observed serious criminal wrongdoing at work, but 18 percent said they would not.