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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid