Unemployment Remains Key Factor for US Voters

Unemployment is a key issue in the U.S. presidential election, and on Friday the government publishes the last official jobless rate before voters go to the polls on November 6. More than 12 million Americans are out of work, another eight million have found only part-time jobs, and still others have stopped searching for work. There are different opinions about the job situation from voters in North Carolina, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.

Jobless Americans are concerned about the high unemployment rate.

"If Mitt Romney gets into office he is going to have to get these young black men and old black men jobs,” said Jeff Smith, who currently is unemployed.

Larry Guinn, a small business owner, said economic uncertainty makes him reluctant to hire new workers.

“I just see more and more unemployment in the country, and that’s not good for America," said Guinn.

Some Ohio voters, including Catholic priest Joseph Rudjak, say jobs are available.

"I don’t see people here terribly disturbed by the unemployment rate. There are opportunities for simple jobs, low-paying jobs,” said Rudjak.

Ohio businessman Gus Hoyes said the job market is getting better, but he's not sure if President Barack Obama should get credit for the change.

“There is a positive upflow. Is that the result of what Obama has done over the past four years? For me that is hard to determine if that is something that has been caused by his leadership,” said Hoyes.

Voters will look more at the unemployment trend rather than at the exact level, says University of Mary Washington political scientist Chad Murphy.  

“What’s important is the trend," he said. "Do you feel like things have gotten better for you?”

That’s why the president says the economy was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month when he took office, but now is gaining jobs.  

Rival Mitt Romney said the recovery is weak and blames Obama’s economic policies. 

Being jobless at a time of high unemployment makes people more likely to vote, said Princeton University's Matthew Incantalupo.

“Experiencing job loss, going through unemployment, is actually a mobilizing phenomenon. Individuals who experience unemployment when and where the unemployment rate is high, are more likely to vote than people who had not gone through job loss," he said.

High unemployment usually is a big problem for the incumbent, Incantalupo said, but that may be softened in this case because the jobless are disproportionately young or members of minority groups, and they tend to be Obama supporters.

Recent data showing a slight drop in the jobless numbers brought allegations that government officials had manipulated the data to help Obama.

Tracking unemployment is an inexact science, said University of Michigan researcher Don Grimes.   

“I don’t believe that there was any indication that these numbers, while unusual, were statistically not valid," he said.

Grimes said news stories and politicians make too big a deal of slight changes in the unemployment numbers, which he said probably do not show much actual change in the economy.
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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs