You Can’t Hate the Stimulus if You Forget About It

The new Pew poll (headline: Keystone pipeline is/was popular) reveals an escape hatch for Democrats embarassed by the stimulus bill’s unpopularity. People are forgetting all about the stimulus bill. Problem solved!
Screen shot 2012-02-23 at 6.33.38 PM In my own interviews with voters, I’ve found two major problems with the image of the stimulus. Number one: Because the economy was lousy, voters didn’t think the spending package did anything. CBO reports on jobs created/saved matter less than the sick reality of your own city or neighborhood. Number two: Voters conflated “the bailout” and “the stimulus,” twinning them as one monstrous spending package. Whether it was accidental, whether it was planned, Republicans did themselves huge favors by lumping the unpopular rescue of banks with the initially popular rescue plan for state workers and solar companies. The Solyndra saga, which you’d expect to drive down support further, hasn’t mattered as much – Republicans have pointed out that the stimulus paid for the company’s ridiculous boardroom windows et al. But like most disappointments, this is getting surpressed by the disappointed.