The public is becoming increasingly antsy as they wait for the stimulus to have an impact. The number of people who think it has had no effect on the economy is actually rising as time goes on:
CBS News Poll. July 9-12, 2009. N=944 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"So far, do you think the federal government's stimulus package has made the economy better, made the economy worse, or has it had no impact on the economy so far?"
As more people think the stimulus has had no impact, the more people think using government spending as a means of stimulating the economy is not worthwhile (from the same CBS poll):
"Which comes closer to your own view? The federal government should spend money to stimulate the national economy, even if it means increasing the budget deficit. OR, The federal government should NOT spend money to stimulate the national economy and should instead focus on reducing the budget deficit."
July 12: Reduce Deficit 61%--33% Stimulate economy
June 16: Reduce Deficit 52%--41% Stimulate economy
No matter what you think of the wording of that question, the trendline is still important. An increasing number of Americans do not believe that the stimulus has had any impact on the economy. As such, an increasing number of Americans are turning away from the idea of using increased government spending as a means toward economic improvement. It is a perfectly rationale response, even if it demonstrates a lack of patience.
All of this underlies a larger point about how, even though the legislation that has been signed into law in 2009 has been, due to a variety of factors, much more moderate that progressive, the success or failure of that policy will still determine the public perception of the efficacy of progressive policies and ideology for a long time to come. Whether or not the Democratic trifecta actually passes progressive legislation, the legislation that is passed and the policies that are followed will still be perceived as progressive. We simply can't avoid that.
For example, right now the stimulus package pretty much equals left-wing economic philosophy in the eyes of the American people. If it doesn't produce results, we are all going to see our ideas become discredited in the eyes of the American public, even if we thought policies of the Democratic trifecta did not go nearly far enough. The country is never going to say "well, that idea didn't work, so let's try a more extreme version of it." People just don't think that way in America.
Many conservatives felt the same way under the Republican trifecta, and are now roundly mocked for arguing that conservatism can't fail, but people can fail conservatism. I imagine that if the economy doesn't turn around, many progressives will sound quite similar in their critiques of the Obama administration. Problem is, we will sound just as silly as they will. Whether we like it or not, progressivism is on the hook for the success or failure of the policies passed under the Obama administration and the Democratic trifecta.