News / USA

High Unemployment Could Hurt Democrats in Midterm Vote

Unemployed people use computers to search for jobs and telephones to seek out unemployment insurance benefits at the Nevada JobConnect Career Center, 1 Sept. 2010, Las Vegas.
Unemployed people use computers to search for jobs and telephones to seek out unemployment insurance benefits at the Nevada JobConnect Career Center, 1 Sept. 2010, Las Vegas.

The final -- and gloomy - jobs report released by the U.S. Labor Department released ahead of November's midterm elections showed the unemployment rate remained at a stubborn 9.6 percent.  This report is seen as a key indicator of the health of the U.S. economy, which political analysts say that is not good news for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress as November 2, Election Day, approaches.

The economy and high unemployment rate are the top issues in this year's election campaign, and President Obama has said his administration remains focused on job creation as a high priority.

"Putting the American people back to work, expanding opportunity, rebuilding the economic security of the middle class is the moral and national challenge of our time," said the president.  

Republicans were quick to react to the September job figures as well.  House Republican leader John Boehner issued a statement that called the report disappointing and left millions of Americans asking, where are the jobs?

Public opinion polls give Republicans an advantage heading into the midterm elections and political analysts are predicting Republican gains in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  It's the state of the economy that is driving voters away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans, says political expert Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution.

"The unemployment, the underemployment, the sort of stagnant income, the declining income for some families.  All of that has created a great sense that nothing is working in this country.  People are very bleak about the state of the economy," Mann says.

Public approval ratings for President Obama and for Democrats in general have been slipping for months now, and, somewhat surprisingly, approval ratings for Republicans in Congress tend to be even worse.  But voters appear poised to hold the Democrats responsible for the sluggish economy on November 2, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

"And until the unemployment rate gets markedly better, it is unlikely that voters will be any more optimistic about the economy, and therefore that will probably not be good for President Obama," Brown says.

The state of the economy always has a significant impact on national elections, and this year Republicans appear to be benefiting from voter concerns that the U.S. economy is still trying to recover from a recession. The weak economic outlook has shaped a public mindset that took hold months ago, says Republican pollster and political strategist Ed Goeas.

"We know as political pollsters that it basically takes six solid months of good economic news for the economic mentality of the American populace to turn from a recession mentality to a growth mentality," Goeas says. "This election cycle will be run as a recession-attitude, recession-mentality [election] in terms of the voters who are out there."

Republicans charge that the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan, the bank bailout and the health care reform law have all held back economic recovery.  Democrats fire back that a Republican takeover of Congress in November would bring a return to the economic policies of former President George W. Bush, who they say was responsible for the economic downturn to begin with.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid