The Winston Group is a strategy and research firm dedicated to making ideas matter.

CBS Survey and the Stimulus Package

by David Winston

In looking through the CBS Survey that was released last night there are a couple of very interesting results. First let’s put the sample in context. In the survey 25% were Republicans, 38% were Democrats, and 37% were Independents. In contrast the media exit polls for the House level had Republicans at 33%, Democrats at 40%, and Independents at 28%. So the CBS survey gives Democrats a +13 advantage as opposed to the exit polls that had the Democrat advantage at 7%.

1. Support for the stimulus bill has slipped quite a bit going from 63-24 in January to 51-39 in this survey. That means the margin went from +39 to +12, a significant shift. Additionally, Independents are evenly split with 45% approving and 44% disapproving.

2. In terms of shortening the recession, 39% of the electorate think it will while 45% do not.

3. In looking at the need for bipartisan support, versus Democrats only, 81% think it is important for the bill to have support of both parties, while 13% say it is OK for it pass just on Democrat support.

4. Obama’s Job approval is 62-15, while Pelosi’s fav-unf is 10-30, and among Independents she is at 9-36 (they ask ID slightly differently than other surveys).

5. Congressional Republicans are at 32-60, while Congressional Democrats are at 48-43. Among Independents Republicans are at 29-59, and Democrats are at 43-46.

6. Perhaps the most interesting finding is that the survey shows that Americans prefer tax cuts over increased government spending by almost a 3:1 margin to get us out of the recession. They asked the question two different ways. First was contrasting increased government spending versus reducing taxes on business. In that matchup 22% said increased government spending and 59% said reduced taxes for business. Among Independents that margin increased to 13-65. Even Democrats slightly preferred the cutting business taxes by a 40-43 margin. The second way the question was posed was contrasting increasing government spending versus reducing taxes. In that form 16% of the electorate preferred increasing government spending and 62% said cutting taxes. Among Independents it was 13-57, and among Democrats it was 20-59. To quote the CBS press release on the survey:

“There is evidence Americans might accept some of what the Republicans in Congress are proposing. Given achoice between higher government spending and tax cuts for business, Americans choose tax cuts: 59% say that is a better approach towards trying to end the recession.”

To view a PDF of the excerpt from the CBS News poll, click here.