Many Americans don’t think Congress will ever pass a new stimulus package

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
August 24, 2020, 10:00 AM UTC

Can Congress get a second stimulus bill passed? Many Americans don’t think so. 

When asked in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll when they think Congress will pass the much-anticipated bill for a second round of stimulus spending to combat the economic effects of COVID-19, one in five (20%) of Americans say never. Roughly half (52%) say either it’ll happen in the next month or two. 

Uncertainty a bill will never pass as well as hopefulness it will at in the next year is roughly the same between Democrats and Republicans share the same amount of uncertainty that a bill will pass next year, although Republicans are slightly more likely to think the bill will die on the Senate floor (15% among Dems vs. 20% among GOP). 

After it was passed by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in May, the bill has been waiting to be picked up by the Republican-controlled Senate. Talks broke down over the amount of spending associated with the bill.  The Democratic bill called for $3 trillion in stimulus measures and Republicans countered with $1 trillion. Any immediate resolution seems unlikely because Senators left Washington for August recess. 

Responding to the stalemate, President Donald Trump signed a series of executive orders that included, among other things, changes to unemployment benefits and a temporary payroll tax holiday. In a previous Economist/ YouGov survey, Americans seemed in favor of the executive orders, but were skeptical the president's plans would become reality.    

Included in the now-stalled bill’s measures is a second round of $1,200 checks for all Americans, something both political parties have said they want to see.  

If it makes it to the president’s desk, this would be then legislative sequel to March’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act 

When it was signed into law, job approval of the US Congress among US adults saw a substantial bump, rising to 26% the highest it’s been in at least two years. The glow didn’t last long. Approval figures quickly dwindled back to the mid-teens, roughly where it stood before the pandemic.  

See the toplines and crosstabs from this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll  

Methodology: The latest Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 US registered voters interviewed online between August 16 – 18, 2020. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the US Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote, registration status, geographic region, and news interest. Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all US citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3.4% for the overall sample.

Image: Getty