Public Not Buying Obama's Repeated Attempts to Sell the Stimulus
President Obama travels to Holland, Michigan, today to talk about one of his favorite successes, the recovery act and the investment it provided in the clean energy jobs of the future.
His trip is to participate in the groundbreaking of a new Compact Power advanced battery plant.
According to the White House, "The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the president announced last August. By the day of groundbreaking, Compact Power estimates it will employ 70 in construction jobs. This will rise to 200 by September and 300 at the peak of construction. The factory will hire more than 300 full-time Michigan workers when at scale. The president will discuss how these kinds of investments not only create private sector jobs now, but help American workers and businesses become more competitive."
Recently, the White House has said that the Recovery Act investments will allow the U.S. produce a large segment of the advanced battery market in the next decade and those batteries will be in high demand as more businesses and automobiles go green.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer made this point in a statement to Politico: "Today's battery event in Michigan is Exhibit A in the case the White House will make in the coming months: Thanks to the tough steps taken by President Obama and congressional Democrats, a new foundation for a better future is being built, and he products of the future will be made in the USA instead of elsewhere in the world. If our opponents had their way, these jobs and industries would be elsewhere."
But, this week's CBS News Poll shows that most people don't see things that way.
While 38 percent of respondents say that the economy is the most important problem facing the country, 54 percent DISAPPROVE of the president's handing of the economy. And while the White House will make the point that the products of the future will be made in the U.S., it's the jobs of today that most Americans are worried about.
Michigan's unemployment rate is currently above 13 percent and while no one can take away the benefits of the jobs being created at the Holland plant, the problem is that most Americans still don't believe the Recovery Act worked for them. According to the poll, 63 percent of respondents say that the president's economic programs have not affected them personally, 23 percent say the policies have HURT them and only 13 percent say the programs have helped them personally.
Put another way, a whopping 86 percent of Americans in the new CBS Poll say that they've been unaffected or hurt by the president's economic programs. When asked specifically about the Recovery Act/Stimulus, 56 percent of people say it had no affect and 18 percent say it made the economy worse.
In an editorial in today's Detroit News, House Minority leader says that the president should listen to the residents of Holland when they ask "Where are the jobs?"
Boehner says that Michigan is one of the 48 states to have lost jobs since the stimulus was signed into law. "Since February 2009, our economy has lost roughly 3 million private sector jobs while the federal government has grown by more than 400,000 jobs. More government, fewer jobs: this isn't the picture of recovery; it's the epitome of failure," wrote Boehner.
The battle lines for the midterm elections have been drawn, and according to the CBS poll, the White House has some work to do to change the perception of the work it's done to fix the economy.
Robert Hendin is a CBS News White House producer. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here.
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