STIMULUS PACKAGE: Just Do It, Gallup Poll Says

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ABC NEWS: Sixty-seven percent of the American people approve of how President Obama’s handling his efforts to pass an economic stimulus bill, as opposed to 48% for Democrats in Congress and 31% for congressional Republicans. Congressional Republicans actually have a staggeringly high 58% DISapproval rating for how they’re handling the stimulus debate, compared to 42% for Hill Democrats and only 25% for President Obama. Gallup says that 51% of those polled believe that passing the economic stimulus plan is “critically important” for the economy, with 29% saying it’s important. Only 16% say it is “not that important.” MORE

GALLUP POLL:  These findings, based on Gallup Poll interviews conducted Feb. 6-7, underscore the degree to which Obama appears to be maintaining the upper hand over his opponents from a public opinion perspective as he and congressional leaders wrangle over the precise form and substance of a new economic stimulus plan. (Recent Gallup polling also shows that a slight majority of Americans in general favor the idea of passing a stimulus plan of around $800 billion, a sentiment that has stayed constant over the last several weeks.)

Obama will address the stimulus issue before a nationwide audience on Monday night with his first prime-time news ObamaMatrix_1.jpg\conference. He will also conduct town-hall meetings this week in Elkhart, Ind., and Fort Myers, Fla., as part of his efforts to help sell his view of the urgency of passing a stimulus package. The data in particular show the sharp divide between the public’s views of how Obama has handled efforts to pass a stimulus bill and its views of how the Republicans have handled this — a divide that quantitatively produces a 36-point approval gap. MORE

WASHINGTON POST: Three months after their Election Day drubbing, Republican leaders see glimmers of rebirth in the party’s liberation from an unpopular president, its selection of its first African American chairman and, most of all, its stand against a stimulus package that they are increasingly confident will provide little economic jolt but will pay off politically for those who oppose it. After giving the package zero votes in the House, and with their counterparts in the Senate likely to provide in a crucial procedural vote today only the handful of votes needed to avoid a filibuster, Republicans are relishing the opportunity to make a big statement.  Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be. MORE

corporatemedia.jpgMEDIA MATTERS: Many in the media have proclaimed the GOP the winner in the “stimulus message war” over President Obama and congressional Democrats. But they often do so with no self-reflection or acknowledgment of their cohort’s role in advancing the Republicans’ side of the debate through the credulous repetition of falsehoods and other Republican talking points. Jeanne Cummings, the Politico‘s chief lobbying and money correspondent, wrote that Obama is “losing [the] stimulus message war.” She is far from alone Yet in declaring the Republicans the victors of the stimulus debate, and in some cases attributing that victory to Republican achievements or Democratic failures, none of the above media figures acknowledged the role their colleagues played in promoting the GOP’s often-skewed representations of the bill. Indeed, Media Matters for America has documented numerous examples of media echoing, repeating, or advancing variations of Republican talking points about the economic stimulus plan, many of which are false or misleading. For instance. MORE

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