The latest polling suggest that Obama is having the better of the public opinion fight over the stimulus. But there must be worry in the Obama camp that they are into partisan warfare so early on in the presidency. This means that they have little to no room for Democratic defections in the Senate, weakening the White House’s negotiation hand with Congressional leadership.
Ironically, the more ground the administration has to cede to Congressional Democrats the more unlikely it is to pick up Republican votes. It was House Democrats loading the stimulus with extra spending and almost halving the tax cuts on offer that energised and solidified the Republican resistance to it.