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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.

Fact-Check: Rep. Pence on Stimulus/Employment

Rep. Mike Pence (R – IN) | Stimulus Effect on Employment | HALF TRUE

From the 5/2/2010 transcript:

REP. PENCE:  Yeah.  The so-called stimulus bill that has taken us from 7.5 percent unemployment* to nearly 10 percent unemployment nationwide; worse in Michigan.

According the the US Govt. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in February 2009 when President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law was 8.1%. In March of 2010 the BLS has the unemployment number at 9.7%. Also according to the BLS, Michigan currently has an unemployment rate of 14.1%. Therefore while Rep. Pence is slightly incorrect on the numbers, this statement is true. However, Rep. Pence clearly uses these numbers to indicate that the “so-called stimulus bill” has made unemployment worse. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office report we found via, the CBO estimated ( pg.8 ) that in the fourth quarter of 2009 the unemployment rate would have been 0.5 to 1.0% higher had the stimulus bill not been passed. Additionally in a recent USA Today survey of economists, they agreed that unemployment would have been (a median estimate of) .8% higher in December without the stimulus bill. Therefore it seems clear that the stimulus bill did not contribute to unemployment but instead reduced it. Because this makes Rep. Pence’s statement obviously misleading, we rate it HALF TRUE.

It’s also worth noting after Rep. Pence’s above comment and a few additional remarks about the Florida race, this was Mr. Gregory’s response:

MR. GREGORY:  All right.  I want to move on.

*In the transcript of the 5/2 show that Meet the Press provided, they incorrectly quote Rep. Pence as saying the “employment” rate was 7.5% – he said “unemployment.”

Special thanks to Jonah, Scott, and Brian for all helping with this fact-check.