- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Nearly half of Americans say the government should stop spending the remainder of the Obama administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus program and doubt that the spending will create new jobs, according to a new poll.

The Rasmussen Reports survey released Wednesday showed that 45 percent of those polled think President Obama should turn off the federal spending spigot despite the administration having spent just $36 billion of the economic rescue package, or 4.5 percent.

About 36 percent of respondents think the government should keep spending the money and 20 percent were not sure, according to the telephone survey.

The results should hearten Republican lawmakers who want to claw back the more than $700 billion in unspent stimulus money to slash this year’s nearly $2 trillion annual deficit.

However, the Rasmussen poll found that more than half of Americans, 55 percent, said Mr. Obama’s tax cuts in the stimulus package should not be canceled, compared to 20 percent think the tax cuts should get the axe.

“While there is a wide partisan gap on the question of stimulus spending, there is little partisan disagreement on maintaining the tax cuts,” the poll noted.

Mr. Obama’s signature tax cut, known as the “Make Work Pay” tax credit, returns $400 a year to most individuals and $800 a year to most married couples.

Mr. Obama pledged Monday to speed up the pace of stimulus spending to save or create 600,000 more jobs this summer. But the poll showed significant skepticism that the spending would actually produce or preserve jobs, as Mr. Obama promised.

About 44 percent of those polled said the increased spending will be bad for the economy, compared to 39 percent who said it would be good and 8 percent who said it will have no impact.

The survey showed that 48 percent of Americans said the stimulus spending does not create jobs, while 31 percent said it did and 21 percent were not sure.

The administration and its Democratic allies in Congress argue that the stimulus program is already producing results and much of the spending is aimed at producing long-term growth to keep the economy from sliding back into recession.

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