News / USA

Stubbornly High Unemployment Hurting Democratic Chances in US Election

People apply for work at an employment center in San Jose, California (file photo)
People apply for work at an employment center in San Jose, California (file photo)

The U.S. Labor Department released its September jobs report Friday, the last one before the November 2nd congressional midterm elections.  The unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent last month, and political analysts say that is not good news for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress with only a few weeks to go until Election Day.  

The monthly government jobs report is seen as a key indicator for the health of the U.S. economy.  The latest report showed modest growth in private sector hiring, but that was offset by job losses among government workers at the federal, state and local level.

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

Mr. Obama spoke about the latest unemployment figures after touring a small business in Maryland.

"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 President Obama.

Republicans were quick to react to the latest 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 November elections and political analysts are predicting significant Republican gains in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Election expert Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution says the state of the economy is driving voters away from the Democrats and toward the Republicans.

"The unemployment, the underemployment, the sort of stagnant income, the declining income for some families," said Mann. "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."

Public approval ratings for President Obama and for Democrats in general have been slipping for months now.  Somewhat surprisingly, approval ratings for Republicans in Congress tend to be even worse.  

But Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown says voters appear poised to hold the Democrats responsible for the sluggish economy on November 2.

"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," said Brown.

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 economy is still trying to recover from a recession.

Republican pollster and political strategist Ed Goeas says the weak economy has shaped a public mindset that took hold months ago.

"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, if you will," said Goeas. "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.

U.S. voters will have the final say in November when all 435 House seats are at stake plus 37 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats.  Republicans need a gain of 39 seats to retake control of the House and a gain of ten seats to reclaim a majority in the Senate.  Republicans lost control of both houses to Democrats in the 2006 midterm elections.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid