January 21st, 2010
11:22 AM ET
7 years ago

CNN Poll: Jobs number one issue with most Americans

Washington (CNN) - More than half of all Americans think unemployment is the most important economic issue facing the country, according to a new national poll.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say joblessness is the most pressing economic issue right now. That's more than double the 22 percent who listed the federal budget deficit as the most important economic issue.

The poll's Thursday release comes as the government reports that the number of Americans filing first time claims for unemployment insurance surged to a two-month high last week. The Labor Department says there were 482,000 initial jobs claims filed in the week ending on January 16, up 36,000 from the week before.

"Today's new jobless figures may not come as a surprise to most Americans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Seven in ten Americans say the economic news they have heard recently is bad news - and a third say they have heard no good economic news at all in recent weeks."

The survey also indicates that eight in 10 say that the economy is in poor shape, and only 37 percent believe it will get better within the next two years. More than four in 10 feel it will take more than three years for the economy to bounce back.

So who's to blame for the tough economic times? It seems more people blame the Republicans than the Democrats, although that margin is shrinking.

According to the poll, 39 percent say the Republicans are responsible for the current economic problems, with 32 percent saying it's the Democrats fault. Just over one in four say both parties are equally responsible. The 39 percent of people questioned who say the GOP is to blame for the current economic problems is down from 50 percent last January, when President Barack Obama took over in the White House.

"The White House has repeatedly made the case that they weren't responsible for the economic mess Obama inherited last year," says Holland. "That argument made sense to most Americans back then and many still agree with it today. But as time goes on, more Americans seem to be wondering what the party in power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue has done to help the economy."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 8-10, with 1,021 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: CNN Polls • Economy • Jobs
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. hongli

    Americans fail to remember that the country was screwed up by George W Bush for eight long years and it will take time and patienc to get people back on their feet. It's only one year into this President's reign and I think Americans are expecting to wave a "MAGIC- WAND" and create jobs immediately.This will eventually happen but it will take time. If George Bush and Dick Cheney were still incharge I guarantee everyone that the unemployment rate would have been 20% by now. I say to the republicans to keep their mouths shut until their mess has been cleaned up.

    January 21, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. MattMan

    Jobs are number one, yet everything this administration is working on is killing jobs.

    Every business in the country is afraid to invest because they are afraid how much they will be penalized by Health Care or Environmental Legislation.

    January 21, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. TYG

    It is baffling to me how people think that their dumb choices over the last eight years is going to change overnight. This is what you wanted, it's what you voted for. You love to be dictated to and watch the rich get richer while you get dogged so you will have something to complain about because that is what you really want to do! You don't want change, you want suffering and that is what you are getting served and since you voted for it why don't you just shut up and enjoy it!

    But I do have a solution, Obama can make change is we get rid of all of the cotton old heads on both sides of the party lines when election roles around and vote in nice young people with forward ideas instead of past opression. This is if you are really seeking change. You can't make change with the same old lyers, cheaters and KKK members in the senate and Congress! Clean house and start with a new slate of people who are really there to help the President make change for a better America! We don't need the past dictating any longer on either side we need the future to come and work together!

    January 21, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. southerncousin

    And I see that again this morning we are reporting record job losses. It might have helped it all that "stimulus"" money wasn't given to the unions and other left wing supporters. Now, that some of the political payoffs are done, Obozo wants more to actually tackle what needs to be done. This idiot is ruinining our country. How do you all like how he fixed the credit card situation? Have you noticed how your rates and fees have gone up even more while the availability has gone down. That is what the unions and George Soros gave us for a president.

    January 21, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. Reagan raised taxes

    Dont worry friends,its just a case of Corporate blackmail.International and American based companies dont care about Americans,they are in a race to the bottom.As soon as you accept half the current standard wage they will throw us a bone and bring a few jobs back from India and China.You really must learn to love globalism,its good for you ,like eating your carrots.hahaha

    January 21, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. TexasJack

    Don't worry Obama walks on water he will save his people.

    January 21, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Ron in California

    The boat is sinking..lets rearrange the deck chairs. It is has been and always will be about the economy. Problem is Obama and his guys have a left wing view of the economy. Provide reasonable regulation and oversight and let the economy run...it will recover. Then tackle the issues that this administration has already failed on. Gotts tell you...Jimmy Carter has a challenger for the worst president ever.

    January 21, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    The American people get it, why don't the dems?

    The dems keep popping up on TV telling us what they think the American public wants: health care reform. WRONG! They want to be earning a paycheck, not paying for the bleeding heart, socialist agenda of one man.

    January 21, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Curtis

    Politicians want people to get a good education, so they'll be able to contribute to our economy. I have a Master's degree in Computer Science, and have a job – but yesterday I had a meeting with 6 other people – 4 from India, and 2 from China.

    If we really want to fix our jobless rate in this country, we need to take a hard look at outsourcing and the H1B Visa program.

    January 21, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. USN

    And obama will save us by taking our money and investing it in gov projects that will hire us so we can get our money back . and he will restrict and tax banks so we can get loans for buisness that he will restrict and tax to stop climate change .....my head hurts.

    January 21, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Moderate

    Forget health care. The republicans have killed it already. Focus on jobs only. Strighten out the economy and we will look at health care with a better democratic house and senate

    January 21, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. SLM

    Too bad Obama doesn't get it. Spending billions does not create jobs. Reducing taxes and keeping businesses from leaving the country does. Raising taxes on businesses and adding new fees and forcing health insurance only kills jobs................not rocket science, but way above our Campaigner in Chiefs skill level.

    January 21, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. rob

    I'll remind everyone that the Dems took controll of congress in Jan. 2007. They controlled the purse strings and had oversite of all the executive departments. And Obama was a Senator.

    Before the Dems took over, the unemployment rate was below 5%, the economy was growing, jobs were being created, and the deficts were coming down because revenues were coming in to the Gov't at record rates. The Dems scream about "The last eight years" but they were in power for the last two and didn't lift a finger while the train was coming off the tracks in the financial melt-down of 2008.

    These are FACTS. Look them up.

    January 21, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. valwayne

    If only Obama hadn't been so set on his left wing, ultra liberal, big government, corrupt spending solutions. If he had used the near trillion dollars in the stimulous bill to cut taxes for small businesses and individual last year all that money could have been pumped into the economy already and business could be hiring millions of people again instead of laying them off. Instead he filled the pockets of the special interests that supported his election, and the economy and jobs are even deeper in the ditch!!! A trillion dollars in borrowed money just wasted. What happend to all the shovel ready projects and fixing the nations infrastructure? The electrical grid is still a mess, bridges still need repair, highways still need work. A trillion dollars just wasted?

    January 21, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. not alone

    Time to end this so called free-trade that really give everything to corp bosses and nothing for the working man.

    January 21, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. jane

    The economy and jobs need to be the #1 issue in the USA with the elected officials including the president. How the heck can you pay for mandatory health insurance if you are not working. These people have their priorities all wrong.

    January 21, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. Mike1952

    Duh. Wingnut, Penazi, and Hairy have ignored this problem after dumping almost a trillion borrowed dollars into the economy to fix it. Ooops! Didn't work. Now maybe they will listen to Reagan republicans on how to really fix this mess. Hint: it won't include tax increases as Wingnut proposes. That just drains efficient investment out of the economy and pumps in inefficient, fraudulent, and wasteful spending. The REAL need is to cut spending.......drastically.

    January 21, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Enough

    You needed a poll to know this?? Did you send a memo to Obama? He doesn't seem to understand, but how could he? He never had a real job, has no business experience and promotes unions taking over businesses...........and he wonders why companies move to other countries? Why adding taxes and fees to businesses don't encourage them to grow. No wonder the official unemployment rate is over 10% and the economy is in the toilet. He thinks adding more fees to banks will fix it..........moron, they'll just be passed on to us. But that's ok, he is so out of touch that he still thinks he can blame Bush for his failures..........nice try Obozo, we know better.

    January 21, 2010 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Angus McDugan



    January 21, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. Kate

    Yes, people have to have jobs so they can eat and live. But, how can our President bring the jobs home from China in a year. It will take a long time. He understands that and is working harder than ever to create ways for more jobs. If we don't keep this President in office, things will fall further. If the Republicans would put their energy in helping do this then it might happen sooner. According to the republicans, our President doesn't do anything right. This very rhetoric will ultimately destroy our country. The only thing that the new senator from Mass. ran on is defeating healthcare. HOW SAD!!!! If Americans can't have affordable healthcare like the one the Pres. proposes, then maybe the senator ought to give up his. But this is the same ole status quo in Washington that the Republicans are promoting.

    January 21, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. TYG


    You are exactly the type that needs to continue to stand out in the cold! If all you have to offer is critisism with no real ideas of how we as a people can work together to make a better America then go crawl back into the caves with the neantherthols where you obiviously belong!

    January 21, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. ICARE


    Voters = dumb enough to think an elephant is a donkey = gave elephants 8 years to push the economy over a cliff = only 10% understand ELEPHANT solution is not the answer

    Republi CORP or Republi CON: too smart to listen or do anything for U= in love with scrooges = nothing for the people = see past 8 years = creates wealth in the form of borrowing = left 5 trillion dollars for future to pay = Gives handouts of 1 trillion dollars to billionaires = See W

    Dumbo CRAT = dumb enough to listen = Usually cleans up after the elephants' mess = Revives the economy = Always give something back to the communities = see Bill Clinton

    January 21, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. ICARE

    We need HEALTHCARE, especially when NOBODY has a job. It needs to be affordable. It must be done or according to research, no one will be able to afford it.

    Stop $300.00 a pill...

    January 21, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. Mike Syracuse, NY

    OK Obozo, repeat after me: Jobs NOT health care, jobs NOT health care, jobs NOT health care.

    January 21, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. kevin

    People Please, Grow up the President of the United States did not make anyone loose their job nor can he get you a job. THAT IS NOT HIS JOB. His job is to make it an envirorment for company to want to stay in this country and built a future for them and their workers.

    Over the last 20 1/2 years that has been destroyed by all sort of people. This started under Former Pres. Reagan and Papa Bush and good of Son GWB finished the job. Their are no manfacturing job in america. We make nothing in this country anymore. How are we to sustain ourselves with nothing. Nor are their any Customer Serv. job left. If you have a problem with a product and you call for services you get Asia or Europe what American can not help American. Now, If you look at our House and Senate and see who voted for this to happen it was the Rethuglican. It might be good for the businesses, you know Less Taxes, no high Salaries and Health Benefit or Retirement Plans. Now that is how you save money, and wait Now, I can move my company to another country and not pay Tarriff when I sell my product back in that country. We should charge every company that went overseas a Tarriff for leaving and going to a country that are not up to standard that we are. If you want to make money over their then sell you product over their or pay our price. You can thank all the Politican that gets the big donation, but it destroyed America.

    I know CNN will never let other read this

    January 21, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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