Unemployment the Top Issue for Americans, Poll Says

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times Staff
Created: September 15, 2011 Last Updated: September 15, 2011
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Job seekers wait in line at a recent job fair in Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Job seekers wait in line at a recent job fair in Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

High unemployment has risen to be the top concern for voters, according to a poll released on Thursday.

The United States has struggled to remedy its high joblessness rate, which has stayed at 9.1 percent over the past two months, according to Labor Department data.

In the Gallup poll conducted after President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress regarding his jobs creation plan, 39 percent of Americans said the unemployment rate or the lack of jobs is “the most important problem facing the country.” The number has increased from 29 percent in August.

Obama’s speech to Congress urging it to pass the $447 billion American Jobs Act came just after the Department of Labor released a dismal report on the state of jobs in the country. No net new jobs were created in the month of August, according to the DOL.

Concerns about the federal budget not being passed have eased since the debt-ceiling legislation was passed over the summer, said the Gallup poll. General dissatisfaction with the federal government overall has stayed the same at 14 percent. Among survey respondents, 7 percent chose a lack of health care as the biggest problem.

In September 28 percent of voters said the economy is the most serious problem in America, according to the poll.

Most people polled, or 76 percent, mentioned a particular economic concern as the top problem facing America, “including three of the top four specific issues—unemployment, the economy in general, and the budget deficit,” the poll found.

When voters were asked if the Republicans or Democrats would be better suited to deal with the economy, 44 percent said the Republicans are better equipped, while 37 percent chose the Democrats.

Gallup noted that the seven-point Republican lead on this survey question—which has been asked periodically by pollsters since 1965—is the highest since January 1995, when the GOP had a 10-point lead over the Democrats.

If Obama is able to gain a consensus in Congress and pass the sweeping jobs package, it will likely be a key factor for whether he is re-elected.

Another poll, this time conducted by Bloomberg, released on Wednesday found that the majority of Americans don’t think Obama’s jobs package will help lower the unemployment rate, which has consistently stayed above 9 percent since the recession began in 2007.

In the poll, 62 percent of voters disagree with Obama’s handling of the economy, while only 33 percent approve.

Meanwhile, Obama’s job approval rating sunk to 45 percent—the lowest during his time in office.


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