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FACT-CHECK: Sen. Schumer on Stimulus Favorability

The following is a fact-check of the May 16, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER | The stimulus, which was unpopular at first, is now getting more popular – FALSE

SEN. SCHUMER: The stimulus, which was unpopular at first, now, if you look at the polls, is getting more popular.

Looking at the polling we have found, Schumer is wrong on both of these assertions. All of the polling data in our research suggests that A) the stimulus package had a national approval rate over 50% when it was passed and B) it is not (nor is it getting) more popular now. Now there is a caveat that perhaps Sen. Schumer was referring to some poll he had seen that we have not been able to find – but if that is the case that poll is not supported by any others we have seen.

Here are a variety of numbers from stimulus polling over the past year: (sorry we are not more web design savvy to present them as a graph or table)

2/11/2009: Gallup poll indicates 59% approve of the stimulus bill
2/10/2009: CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll indicates 54% approve of the stimulus bill

7/24-28/2009: CBS/NY Times poll indicates 25% think stimulus has made the economy better, 13% worse, 57% no impact
USA Today/Gallup poll indicates 41% think stimulus has made the economy better, 24% worse, 33% no effect

12/4-8/2009: CBS/NY Times poll indicates 32% think stimulus has made the economy better, 15% worse, 46% no impact

1/10-14/2010: NBC/WSJ Poll indicates 49% approve of the stimulus, 43% disapprove
1/25/2010: CNN poll indicates 56% oppose the stimulus bill
2/5-10/2010: CBS/NY Times poll indicates 6% think stimulus has created jobs, 41% expect it to, 48% don’t expect it to
2/17/2010: Rasmussen poll indicates 35% agree stimulus has helped economy, 33% think it has hurt, 26% think it has had no impact

4/5-12/2010: CBS/NY Times poll indicates 32% think stimulus has made the economy better, 18% worse, 44% no impact
4/21-26/2010: Pew Research Center poll indicates 32% think the stimulus has helped the job situation, 62% think is has not
5/6-10/2010: NBC/WSJ poll indicates 18% think stimulus has already helped improve the economy, 20% think it will help, 42% think it will not help, and 18% have no opinion either way

Sen. Schumer gets a FALSE on this statement.

Special thanks to crowd-sourcer Joshua for assisting with this fact-check.

This fact-check took a combined 3.5 hours.

The following is a fact-check of the May 16, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) | Justices Marshall, Frankfurter, Jackson, and Rehnquist had limited/no judicial experience HALF TRUE (but it’s complicated)

This was a tricky one. Because there are more than one Justices with the last names Marshall and Jackson, which one Sen. Schumer intended changes the conclusion.

First off, it is correct that for the most part Justices Frankfurter and Rehnquist had no judicial experience prior to serving on the Supreme Court.

From crowd-sourcer Joshua:

Where Justice Frankfurter is concerned, it is true that he had no prior State or Federal civilian judicial experience (see…). He did server in the Judge Advocate General’s corp in WWI, and appears to have served as the Judge Advocate General himself ( However, I’ve been able to find nothing to suggest that he ever served as a judge in a military tribunal, as opposed to either overseeing the military courts administratively or serving as a defense or prosecution advocate.

Justice Rehnquist had no experience as a judge before his term on the Supreme Court (see…,,

Now regarding Justices “Marshall” and “Jackson” – judicial experience depends on which person you are talking about. More from crowd-sourcer Joshua:

Justice Robert Jackson, who served on the Supreme Court from 1941 to 1954, had no prior judicial experience, though Justice Howell Jackson, serving on the Supreme Court from 1893 to 1895, had previously served as a federal circuit judge. Justice Thurgood Marshall, for whom Elena Kagan clerked, had served as a judge on the Second Circuit from 1961 to 1965, prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court. However, Justice John Marshall, who served as Chief Justice from 1801 to 1835, had no judicial experience prior to his appointment.

We will include some more research and analysis from Joshua at the bottom of this post, which is also worth reading. But the bottom line is, without Sen. Schumer being specific it is impossible to give him better than a HALF TRUE on this statement. The lack of specificity is misleading. And even if he intended Justices Robert Jackson and John Marshall we’d probably only give the statement a MOSTLY TRUE.

The fact-checking of this statement took a combined 90 minutes.

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