News / USA

    Jobless Rate Drives Voter Unrest in US Election Campaign

    U.S. voters go to the polls in seven weeks to elect a new Congress, and political experts say the economy will be the top issue in this year's election, especially the high unemployment rate.

    The national unemployment rate sits at 9.6 percent, and economists expect little change between now and Election Day in November.

    Public concern over the high jobless rate is the number-one issue in the election, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

    "I think people make decisions based on what they see in their lives.  You know they are still worried about their jobs, they are still worried about their brother-in-law's job," Brown said.

    The unemployment rate also drives the general public perception of how the economy and the country are doing as a whole.  And Peter Brown says the data he sees suggests Americans are growing more pessimistic about their own economic futures.

    "The thing that should worry the White House is that a plurality of Americans now think that the economy is getting worse," he says, "not better, whereas in the spring it was the other way around."

    The economic recession in the United States has spread the fear of losing a job far and wide, says F.D. Americas chief Ed Reilly.  He presented some survey results at a recent political forum sponsored by the National Journal.

    "Seventy percent of the respondents in our poll said a member of their family or someone close to them had lost their job or been laid off.  The depth and the breadth of this recession is felt by all Americans, and given that it is not surprising that the number one thing they are looking for in terms of rebuilding their confidence or a sense of things moving in the right direction is a decrease in unemployment," Reilly said.

    Democrats are clearly worried that the stubbornly high jobless rate will lead to extensive Republicans gains in November.

    "The black hole of this election year is the economy," said Larry Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, "the rotten economy, the high unemployment rate.  That is what is hurting Democrats."

    President Barack Obama is trying to convince voters that his administration is doing all it can to spur economic growth and create jobs even though only modest private sector job growth has been reported in recent months.

    Mr. Obama notes that millions of jobs were lost before he came into office in 2009 and that he empathizes with those looking for work.

    "That is a huge hole to dig ourselves out of and people who have lost their jobs around the country and cannot find one, moms who are sending out resumes and not getting calls back, worried about losing homes and not being able to pay bills, they are not feeling good right now," the president said.  "And I understand that."

    Republicans expect to benefit from the public discontent over the economy.  House Republican leader John Boehner, who appeared Sunday on CBS News' Face the Nation program, says the White House and congressional Democrats have made the jobless situation worse by spending billions of dollars to stimulate the economy and expand health care coverage.

    "We need to control spending in Washington, D.C.," Boehner said, "and we need to remove the uncertainty that clouds are economy from all of these new policies and programs being enacted by this Congress."

    There is plenty of history to illustrate why Democrats are worried about the jobless rate as the election draws near.

    In 1982, Republicans lost 26 House seats during President Ronald Reagan's first term in office when the unemployment rate soared up to 10.8 percent near Election Day.

    In 1958, Republicans lost 47 seats after the jobless rate rose steadily from 4.3 percent to 7.5 percent close to the election.

    This year Republicans are looking for a repeat of their 1994 trouncing of Democrats when they had a net gain of 54 House seats and won control of the House for the first time in 40 years.

    You May Like

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Will New Russian Force Be 'Putin’s Personal Army'?

    With broad powers to control riots, suppress dissent, National Guard may be aimed at sending a message to West as much as keeping peace at home

    Foreign Media in Pyongyang Barred From North Korean Party Congress

    Hundreds of international journalists invited to cover historic party meeting barred from entering actual event

    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.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora