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Obama told voters at a town hall meeting Sunday in Elyria, Ohio, that the stimulus was intended not to increase the size of government, as Republicans allege, but to help put folks back to work.
Still, the stimulus has proved a powerful weapon in the GOP arsenal because its benefits are unclear for many voters, said political scientist at the University of Kentucky.
Most Democrats say it did more to help, the AP GfK poll found, while a narrow majority of Republican voters think it did even more damage than would have happened otherwise. And those with doubts about the bill's effectiveness are far more apt to say they trust Republicans over Democrats to do a better job handling the economy.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported last month that 1.4 million to 3.3 million people are employed because of the program, a blow to Republican claims that the stimulus failed to increase employment.
More worrisome for Democrats are voters like Kendra Jassmann, a 44 year old mother of two in the Denver suburb of Aurora, who received stimulus money to help with rent after she was injured Reebok Sneakers Men 2017 and had to quit work. A few months after a local charity started helping with her rent, the charity told her its stimulus money had run out and she was on her own.
Stimulus Spending Looms Large in Midterm Contests
The stimulus program has kept many state and local governments fiscally viable, and the money has been a boon to the construction industry, financing thousands of road and bridge projects. In other areas tax cuts, Medicaid health benefits, unemployment checks, food stamps the stimulus has provided some relief to millions Reebok Female Shoes
Jassmann says she may be homeless by Christmas.
Negative perceptions have turned the stimulus into a political stick for Republicans to wield against Democrats:
Edwards, the Texas Democrat who said he may lose because of his stimulus vote, trumpeted the program in January when he announced a police department in his district was receiving $176,675 to hire a new officer.
Still, there is broad skepticism that the stimulus package helped the nation's economy, according to a new AP GfK poll. A plurality of likely voters say the bill had no real effect on it. About three in 10 say it did more to damage the economy while about the same share think it helped to bring about improvements.
"I thought the stimulus was going to help," Jassmann said as she packed boxes. "I see the banks, the rich people, getting help, but I don't see us getting it. It's unbelievable."
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"I mean, I understand how people have become mistrustful of government," Obama said. "But it can't be this constant ideological argument. People need help. We need to provide them a helping hand."
Rep. Betsy Markey of Colorado brought Vice President Joe Biden to an electronics company in her district in April to talk up the company's new motor plant, funded with $45 million in stimulus money. That's a slice of more than $1.7 billion in stimulus money pumped into Colorado to prevent teacher layoffs, keep the state budget afloat and increase Social Security and unemployment payments, among other things.
stimulus in September as she touted $30 million in federal grant money to help unclog a Seattle interchange.
"There is a general sense that Democrats got to Washington and busted open the piggy bank, squandered everything, and we haven't seen much improvement as a result," Voss said.
Rep. , a conservative Georgia Democrat who has resisted vigorous challenges from Republicans before, may be undone this year by a challenger whose ads conclude: "Times are hard. Jim Marshall made them worse."
with a "failed stimulus" campaign drumbeat. In ads, debates and campaign mailers, they deride the $814 billion program as having reinforced out of control spending and doing little to help.
economic package in decades in an attempt to put people back to work and end the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
At CoraFaye's in Denver, owner said she's an Obama fan but doesn't think the stimulus helped business. People are eating out less, and except for a new beauty parlor next door, there's not a lot of additional shops popping up on her busy street.
In Maryland, first term Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil voted against his party on health care and supports a balanced budget amendment. No matter. His Republican opponent, , depicts Kratovil as a profligate spender for supporting a final version of the stimulus law.
In reality, the stimulus program has done more than Republicans often claim and less than Democrats may want to admit in the face of a sluggish economy and high unemployment. Moreover, the spending continues into next year, meaning the impact of the program cannot be fully measured.
In Texas, 20 year incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards told The Dallas Morning News this month his vote for the stimulus might cost him re election.
"The jury's still out on the stimulus for me, I guess," Smith said. "I don't see it directly not yet, anyway."
In Colorado, rookie Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and three House Democrats are struggling to fend off challengers who routinely point out their votes for the stimulus. Out of state interest groups allied with the GOP air ads calling it a failure and a spending spree.
In southeast Michigan, Democratic Rep. ousted a Republican incumbent two years ago. This election, Republican challenger Rocky Raczkowski campaigns on the stimulus daily with a blunt, if unscientific, assessment: "It ended up being super duper government waste."
Beleaguered Democrats have invited news cameras to shiny new projects aided with stimulus money.
suffering in a tough economy.
Sen. of Washington credited the Reebok All Terrain Super
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