Just talked to Republican pollster David Winston about the public’s view of the stimulus bill. His results suggest that Republicans can do a lot more questioning of what is in the Democratic bill, perhaps for a long time after it passes.
“Here’s the dynamic in the public view,” Winston told me. “The economy is clearly the number one issue, and what is driving that is fear of unemployment. The unemployment numbers are so huge even in terms of what they were last month. So what the public is looking for in this whole stimulus package is, Will this create jobs? When they look at things like road projects, they can visualize somebody working. On the other hand, family planning may be a good idea, but what does it have to do with jobs? So the threshold is whether any particular measure creates jobs or not, and if it does create jobs, how quickly it will work.”
“There are going to be a lot of things in this bill, given the hurried nature of the passing of it, that Democrats, in light of the way that have handled it, are going to own. If it doesn’t match the criteria of creating jobs, they’re going to have a lot of explaining to do. There are a lot of policy questions that can be up for debate as we move forward, but for the stimulus package, the public has just one criteria. There may be other reasons for passing other measures in the future, but that’s another bill and another debate.”