Poll: Bush Stimulus Plan Will Only Help a Little

The public is skeptical about whether President Bush's new economic stimulus plan will do much to help growth in the economy, according to a new poll.

Only a third, 35 percent, say they expect the stimulus plan will be fairly effective or very effective at helping the economy. Another four in 10 said it could be "somewhat effective."

The poll by NBC and The Wall Street Journal released Thursday shows that the president's overall job approval is at 54 percent, down from 62 percent a month ago. About four in 10 disapproved of his handling of his job.

Several other recent polls have shown Bush's job approval slipping into the 50s. Fewer than half support his handling of the economy, 44 percent, and about half supported his handling of foreign policy, 51 percent.

The poll results underscore the pressure on Bush to convince Americans in his State of the Union address next week that he has an effective plan to restore the economy and convince them on his Iraq policy.

Bush still has a commanding lead over potential Democratic rivals in head-to-head matchups, though that lead is dwindling.

About a third, 32 percent, said their opinion of Bush's performance has gotten worse in recent months, while 14 percent said it has gotten better.

The poll of 1,025 adults was taken Jan. 19-21 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.