Americans Largely Unaware of Stimulus Opportunities
New America Media, News Report, Annette Fuentes Posted: Oct 06, 2009
Read NAM's Press Release Here
Download the Poll Results by Clicking Here
Listen to Pollster Sergio Bendixen, Bendixen and Associates
Americans’ opinions about the federal government’s $787 billion stimulus package and its impact on the mired economy vary sharply among racial and ethnic groups, according to a survey released today, with ethnic Americans more likely than whites to say it is a “good thing.”
The survey, called “Gauging the Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” found that 67 percent of Latinos and Native Americans, 62 percent of Asian Americans, and 84 percent of African Americans think the stimulus is good for their families or communities. By comparison, just 45 percent of white Americans see it positively. Overall, 54 percent of all Americans think the stimulus effort is positive.
The survey, which was commissioned by New America Media, painted a portrait of Americans in economic hardship. Sixty percent of Latinos are worried about housing costs, 50 percent of Native Americans are concerned about food, clothing and medicine costs and more than 30 percent of blacks worried about losing their jobs.
Half or more of Native Americans, Latinos and whites surveyed think the U.S. economy is on the “wrong track,” while African Americans and Asian Americans were more confident in the government’s handling of the economy.
Despite the gloomy perspectives, the poll found a sunnier outlook for the near future, with 66 percent of all those surveyed rating themselves as “optimistic” about their own finances in 2010.
The poll tried to gauge Americans’ first-hand experience with stimulus-funded programs at the state and local level. Little more than a third of Latino, Asian-American and white respondents were aware stimulus funds helped save the jobs of teachers, police and firefighters in their communities. Fifty-two percent of black and 41 percent of Native American respondents were aware as well.
More than half of blacks and Native Americans were also aware of stimulus-funded projects in their communities, such as construction of roads, ports, bridges and tunnels. More than 40 percent of Asian Americans and whites surveyed and just 30 percent of Latinos knew of such improvements.
On the other hand, just a quarter of all those polled knew about “green jobs” having been created in their communities even though the stimulus includes a large investment in creation of such environmentally related jobs.
Perhaps the biggest problem revealed by the survey was in what it showed about the stimulus’s impact on small businesses, which are a traditional source of employment and neighborhood stability. Although the Small Business Administration has stimulus funding to bolster debt-ridden enterprises, roughly three-quarters or more of those surveyed from all ethnic and racial groups said they were unaware of any small business in their communities benefiting from a SBA loan.
"Our poll shows the Obama administration has not done a good job of informing Americans about the economic opportunities that currently exist because of the stimulus package,” said NAM Executive Director Sandy Close. “The Recovery Act has made billions of dollars available for extended unemployment benefits and health insurance for laid off workers. It has appropriated money for small businesses and arts organizations. It has prevented thousands of teachers from being laid off and kept firehouses from closing. Our poll shows that across the racial and ethnic spectrum most Americans remain unaware of the actual impact on their communities.”
The survey was conducted by Bendixen & Associates and was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 individuals comprising a representative sample of U.S. residents. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Cantonese and Vietnamese.
Spanish Version: Las opiniones sobre el estímulo económico están divididas por etnicidad
Korean Version: 아시안아메리칸, 오바마 경제부양책 좋지만…돈은 다 어디 있나?
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