News / USA

American Voters Rate Economy, Jobs as Major Concerns

Multimedia

Americans will go to the polls November 2nd to select all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and more than one third of the 100-member Senate.   In survey after survey, Americans rate the economy as their top concern.  Voters say they are looking for candidates who will spur job creation and restore prosperity.  

With the national unemployment rate at 9.6 percent, and California's nearly three points higher, voters say Americans need jobs.

In California's senate election, incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer says job creation is the most important task of government.  She hopes to promote environmentally friendly business, using tax incentives.  Republican challenger Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, wants to cut taxes and slash government spending and allow the private sector to create jobs.  

The same debate is taking place in the governor's race, where the former eBay chief executive, Republican Meg Whitman, faces Democrat, and former governor, Jerry Brown.

"We have a very clear contrast between my opponent, Meg Whitman, and myself," Brown said.

"I am ready to give Jerry Brown the hardest and toughest fight he has seen in his 40 years in politics," Whitman replied.

In 2007, mortgage defaults around the country sparked a crash in the high-risk sub-prime mortgage market, creating the worst recession in 70 years.  In the city of Stockton, unemployment has reached 17 percent, and in a neighborhood on the outskirts of town, called Weston Ranch, almost one-third of homeowners are in default on their mortgage.

The crash of the housing market caused the spike in unemployment, and the area has not recovered, says economist Jeff Michael of the University of the Pacific.

"We have a homebuilding industry and a construction and development industry that was a major employer in this area," he said. "It is down by 90 percent.  It is virtually shut down on its back.  And that has had big impacts on state and local tax revenues, huge employment impacts, and all those impacts have just cascaded through the economy."

In 2008, the federal government stepped in to offer some help.  Congress approved a bailout of failing mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But real estate expert John Knight of the University of the Pacific says local homeowners remain angry.

"You have the homeowners who acted responsibly and bought homes that they could afford angry that they are bailing out those that perhaps were not as prudent in their home purchases," he said. "And you have the homeowners who have expected some sort of relief, some sort of help in the form of a mortgage modification not being helped as much as was expected."

In San Francisco, non-government organizations such as Catholic Charities use private funds and government grants to help the unemployed, offering short term housing and arranging job training.  A woman, holding her infant, is enrolled in a training program and gets some encouragement from the program director. "Good for you.  It is one step at a time," she said.

Residents of this facility receive meals and other support.

The charity also operates a low-income housing unit in central San Francisco, where it offers subsidized rent and programs that include after-school care for children.  Chris Callandrillo of Catholic Charities worries that the bad economy will lead to cuts in public spending.

"Because programs are cut, funding is cut for programs that support people, low-income families, that support families looking for jobs, looking for job training, that support child care for families that are out working, and all these things are being impacted by the economy," said Callandrillo.

In California, Democrats outnumber Republicans, with an edge of 44 to 31 percent.  But one in five of the state's voters is independent, and Mark Baldassare of the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California says these voters could sway the election.

"The independents will be listening very closely to solutions, to actual solutions, not just criticisms, and there are plenty of criticisms about the way things are and what has been done so far that has not been successful, but does anybody have any good ideas about what to do next?  So far, they have not heard that," he said.

Analysts say voters are worried and angry, which could lead to a power shift in the Democratic-controlled House or Senate.  A new national poll by the Pew Center for the People and the Press found that independent voters who are likely to vote in the mid-term election favor Republicans.  In the presidential election in 2008, they swung toward the Democrats and helped elect President Barack Obama.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More