With Doubts, Voters Prefer Obama Jobs Plan

Jobless: Desperate times.
National Journal
Ronald Brownstein
Add to Briefcase
Ronald Brownstein
Sept. 12, 2011, 5:35 p.m.

Des­pite deep­en­ing doubts about Pres­id­ent Obama’s eco­nom­ic agenda, Amer­ic­ans gen­er­ally prefer the pro­pos­als he offered last week for re­viv­ing the eco­nomy to the com­pet­ing ideas ad­vanced by con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans and the GOP’s 2012 pres­id­en­tial field, a United Tech­no­lo­gies/Na­tion­al Journ­al Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll has found.

The poll sug­gests Amer­ic­ans re­main un­con­vinced that either party’s agenda can sig­ni­fic­antly dent the na­tion’s longest peri­od of sus­tained un­em­ploy­ment since the De­pres­sion. The share of Amer­ic­ans who said that Obama’s policies have com­poun­ded eco­nom­ic dif­fi­culties was nearly double the por­tion who said he has im­proved con­di­tions. And just one-in-six said they ex­pec­ted the jobs plan he sent to Con­gress will sig­ni­fic­antly re­duce un­em­ploy­ment.

Yet, nearly half of those sur­veyed thought his plan would help some­what, and the pres­id­ent still held a 37 per­cent to 35 per­cent ad­vant­age over con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans when re­spond­ents were asked whom they trus­ted more to re­vive the eco­nomy.

The Con­gres­sion­al Con­nec­tion Poll, con­duc­ted by Prin­ceton Sur­vey Re­search As­so­ci­ates In­ter­na­tion­al, in­ter­viewed 1,010 adults by land­line and cell phone Sept. 8-11 for most of the ques­tions in the sur­vey; those ques­tions have a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 3.6 per­cent­age points. In­ter­views about Obama’s new jobs plan, which he an­nounced on the even­ing of Sept. 8, were con­duc­ted with 783 adults Sept. 9-11; those ques­tions have a mar­gin of er­ror of 4.1 per­cent­age points.

With some ex­cep­tions, those polled saw more prom­ise in the ideas that Obama offered in his speech than pro­pos­als Re­pub­lic­ans are tout­ing in Con­gress and in the 2012 cam­paign. The sur­vey spe­cific­ally iden­ti­fied the al­tern­at­ives as pro­pos­als from the GOP or Pres­id­ent Obama.

The most pop­u­lar Re­pub­lic­an pro­pos­al is the call to pass a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment to cap fed­er­al spend­ing at a fixed share of the eco­nomy and re­quire Wash­ing­ton to bal­ance its budget. Two-thirds of those polled thought that idea would be either very ef­fect­ive or some­what ef­fect­ive at cre­at­ing more jobs.

From Na­tion­al Journ­al:
PIC­TURES: GOP Can­did­ates De­bate in Tampa

Is Perry Mak­ing Rom­ney a Bet­ter Can­did­ate?

GRAPH­IC: Flor­ida’s Polit­ic­al Cor­ridor

Obama Gets Spe­cif­ic in His Jobs Bill

Charlie Cook: Volat­il­ity Now the Watch­word

But oth­er corner­stones of the GOP agenda drew more mod­est sup­port. Just 52 per­cent thought re­du­cing cor­por­ate taxes would be very ef­fect­ive or some­what ef­fect­ive at cre­at­ing jobs. When it came to what re­spond­ents thought would lead to a big jobs boost, 50 per­cent cited re­peal of Obama’s health care law, and 47 per­cent cited both Mitt Rom­ney’s pro­pos­al to re­quire Wash­ing­ton to re­peal a reg­u­la­tion for each new one pro­mul­gated and an ex­ten­sion of George W. Bush’s tax cuts for all earners.

Nearly as many (46 per­cent) thought that ex­tend­ing the Bush tax cuts would not be too ef­fect­ive or not ef­fect­ive at all. That was the most skep­ti­cism ex­pressed about any GOP ideas — al­though at least 37 per­cent also said ex­pressed doubt that re­peal­ing the health care law, lim­it­ing reg­u­la­tions as Rom­ney pro­posed, or cut­ting cor­por­ate taxes would do much good.

Ideas Obama touted in last week’s speech gen­er­ally fared bet­ter. Three-fourths of those polled said they be­lieved his pro­pos­al to cut taxes on em­ploy­ers who hire new work­ers, or provide a raise to ex­ist­ing ones, would be either very or some­what ef­fect­ive in cre­at­ing jobs. Sev­en-in-10 said the same about his pro­pos­al to provide state and loc­al gov­ern­ments funds to pre­vent lay­offs of teach­ers and po­lice of­ficers. Two-thirds rendered the same ver­dict on the idea of help­ing more homeown­ers re­fin­ance their mort­gages at lower in­terest rates.

The ele­ment of Obama’s plan that costs the most, and is most likely to at­tract sup­port from con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans, ac­tu­ally polled the weak­est: cut­ting the So­cial Se­cur­ity payroll taxes paid by work­ers and em­ploy­ers. Just 42 per­cent of those sur­veyed be­lieved that would be even some­what ef­fect­ive, while 52 per­cent thought it would have little or no ef­fect

For the most part, re­ac­tion to these ideas showed re­mark­able con­sist­ency across most of the demo­graph­ic fault lines. Par­tis­an­ship, not sur­pris­ingly, was the big ex­cep­tion: Re­pub­lic­ans re­spon­ded much more fa­vor­ably to the GOP ideas, and Demo­crats showed more en­thu­si­asm for Obama’s pro­pos­als. Oth­er than that, one of the few telling con­trasts came over tax cuts: Whites (at 51 per­cent) were much more likely than minor­it­ies (just 39 per­cent) to be­lieve that ex­tend­ing the Bush tax cuts would sig­ni­fic­antly help cre­ate jobs.

Con­versely, minor­it­ies (at 51 per­cent) were much more likely than whites (just 38 per­cent) to be­lieve that cut­ting So­cial Se­cur­ity taxes would im­prove con­di­tions. Seni­ors were es­pe­cially du­bi­ous of cut­ting So­cial Se­cur­ity taxes.

More fa­mil­i­ar di­vides re­sur­faced in as­sess­ments of Obama’s re­cord and his new plan. Over­all, about one-fifth of those sur­veyed said Obama’s eco­nom­ic policies since tak­ing of­fice had im­proved the eco­nomy; nearly two-fifths said he had made the eco­nomy worse, while the rest said his policies have had no ef­fect. That is Obama’s worst show­ing since tak­ing of­fice, when com­pared with earli­er find­ings on the same ques­tion from the non­par­tis­an Pew Re­search Cen­ter.

Re­ac­tions on that ques­tion showed a sharp ra­cial di­vide: though weak it­self, the share of minor­it­ies who thought Obama’s agenda had im­proved the eco­nomy (29 per­cent) still ex­ceeded the por­tion who thought he had weakened it (18 per­cent). But among whites, fully 48 per­cent thought his ac­tions had hurt the eco­nomy-nearly triple the 17 per­cent who be­lieved he had im­proved it. Col­lege-edu­cated whites, who have gen­er­ally been more pos­it­ive to­ward Obama, were as neg­at­ive on this judg­ment as whites without a col­lege de­gree, his toughest audi­ence throughout his pres­id­ency.

All of these res­ults un­der­score how much Obama’s hopes next year may turn on con­vin­cing voters to see the 2012 elec­tion as a for­ward-look­ing choice between com­pet­ing vis­ion rather than a ref­er­en­dum on his res­ults since 2009.









What We're Following See More »
McMullin Leads in New Utah Poll
5 hours ago

Evan McMul­lin came out on top in a Emer­son Col­lege poll of Utah with 31% of the vote. Donald Trump came in second with 27%, while Hillary Clin­ton took third with 24%. Gary John­son re­ceived 5% of the vote in the sur­vey.

Quinnipiac Has Clinton Up by 7
5 hours ago

A new Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll finds Hillary Clin­ton lead­ing Donald Trump by seven percentage points, 47%-40%. Trump’s “lead among men and white voters all but” van­ished from the uni­versity’s early Oc­to­ber poll. A new PPRI/Brook­ings sur­vey shows a much bigger lead, with Clinton up 51%-36%. And an IBD/TIPP poll leans the other way, showing a vir­tu­al dead heat, with Trump tak­ing 41% of the vote to Clin­ton’s 40% in a four-way match­up.

Trump: I’ll Accept the Results “If I Win”
6 hours ago
Duterte Throws His Lot in with China
9 hours ago

During a state visit to China, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte "declared an end to his country’s strategic alignment with the United States and pledged cooperation with Beijing." Duterte told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he's "realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world—China, Philippines, and Russia. It’s the only way.”

Hatch Considering 2018 Re-election Run
10 hours ago

Reports say that Orrin Hatch, who in 2012 declared that he would retire at the end of his term, is considering going back on that pledge to run for an eighth term. Hatch, who is the longest serving Republican in the Senate, is unlikely to make any official declaration until after this election cycle is completed.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.