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. Rich

    Yeah, put all your sh..t on Obama, like he was there for nine years and created two unjust wars, spending billions and killing innocents women and children.
    Most of you are stupid and can't even understand any basic. Anyway, i can't blame you, look at your recent supreme court decisions, selling elected positions to the highest bid.

    January 21, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  2. jim

    all the talk about jobs – but the government continues to let US companies send US jobs overseas on a silver plater. Our government is such a joke it makes me sick! They don't care about America, just the rich who can line their pockets. Glad I was never in the military. Our government is not worth fighting for.

    January 21, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. ICARE

    Before you SCREAM at Obama, scream at YOURSELF. You all gave the peanut-sniffing ELEPHANTS, EIGHT YEARS to throw the economy off a cliff.

    Obama is going to need more than just 8 months to put 300 million americans, on his back and climb up Mount Everest.

    We gave the elephants 8 years, let's give the donkeys 8 years to fix it.


    The best we can do in these times is to KEEP voicing common sense policies and make sure it gets heard. It CANT BE tax cuts. We hav done that for 8 years.

    To grow the economy, GASOLINE should be at $1.00. Nobody has a job. There's no reason for it to be at $3.00 or above. We need to club a few oil companies in the knees for price gouging.

    If you reduce gasoline price, the economy will pick up. Peoplewill have more to spend..... then invest heavily in NEW initiatives that will fule new job growth!!! 700 billion dollars should have gone to investing into the future. Instead, 50% went to tax cuts...

    January 21, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. LacrosseMom(the real one)


    Back in 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president, unemployment was also ........ 10%.

    We survived. We will come out of the Great Recession, the economy is not fast food.

    January 21, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Right Leaning Independent

    Obama campaigned and won by making a lot of concrete promises that he just has not fulfilled. You can lie to win but you can not hide from the truth once people see it!

    January 21, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Sue

    You should have expanded on your Poll CNN..........

    Another question should have been........Do you agree with the Democrats proposal to try to spend another $1.3 trillion dollars in order to "create jobs" and increase the deficit--when all of the money from the orignial stimulous bill has not yet been spent???

    January 21, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. If you want something ruined let a democratic community organizer run it

    No if only Obama the logo president would figure out that "it's the ecomony stupid" maybe, just maybe, we would be headed in the right direction instead of worrying about placating the Unions and the Norwegians.

    January 21, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. JR

    Jobs and Health Care may be fine, but the Housing and Mortgage meltdown continues. What's up with the Obama Plan and making Home Affordable Plan? Has anyone actually benefitted or are you getting the run around from the banks? I am.

    January 21, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. SocialismBad

    A year after the Democrats trillion dollar boondoggle, known as the "Stimulus Bill", and the country is STILL experiencing massive job losses. Obama and the Democrats hurried it through without even reading it. No need I guess because it had nothing to do with jobs, unless you mean more government jobs.

    Obama and the Democrats are TOAST come November if their spending lunacy continues without an improvement in the employment numbers. Massachusetts was a shot between the eyes, NOT a warning shot! All this ridiculous Democratic spinning is hilarious. I guess they are just too dumb to recognize the train coming towards them as they dumbing follow Obama and his healthcare agenda.

    January 21, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Dan, TX

    Actually Mike1952. If the stimulus didn't work, doesn't that mean the government didn't spend ENOUGH money?

    If the stimulus was not done at all, would the economy really be no worse than it is today? Do you really believe that? If the job situation would not be much, much worse today if not for the stimulus, please explain how.

    January 21, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Mike in MN

    Where are the jobs Obama? We are all happy some teachers and police and firefighters did not lose their jobs. Obama has increased the size of government and with it the number of government jobs. But what about the rest of us. Not everyone can work for the government. The number of jobs lost in the private sector since the stimulus was passed out numbers by millions the number of government jobs created. Obama said if the stimulus was passed right away unemployment would not go over 8% and if it was not passed it would go up to 9%. It is 10% and may be still going up. By my math the stimulus and Obama policies have made things worse than if he had done nothing at all.

    January 21, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel


    January 21, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. ron

    I liike how Americans blame the repblicans or Democrats – – as so many of them (americans) drive their imported cars and play with imported toys, and buy houses they cannot afford and run up their credit cards until bankruptcy and, and, and... The complete, insidious, abdication of responsibility in this country sickens me. If ever there was a people getting exactly what they deserve, it is us.

    January 21, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Mlhall

    Every one say stop spending, cut taxes, but do not cut my programs I need them, tell me how in the hell are we going to pay for them without money? There is no way to keep every thing running without the tax dollars, President Obama have not raised taxes yet. But I am sure he need to. When he does I can hear it now Obama spend, spend, Obama taxes, taxes. I do not understand how Bush could do no wrong for 8 year and Obama was not ever in office and he was doing wrong, beat the hell out of me how this happen.

    January 21, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Enough is Enought

    How can you hope to turn the economy around when you have a jobs summit and invite job destroying union bosses and don't invite the chamber of commerce. When you pass a stimulus that is more about a social agenda than stimulus. Congress and Obama have been doing everything possible to advance the agenda of the trial lawyers and the unions both of which hurt the economy and destroy jobs.

    January 21, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. lifelong democrat

    Obama doesn't know what he's doing, Pelosi and Reid couldn't care less millions of Americans lost their job. Obama, Pelosi and Reid only care about raising our debt ceiling again for another $1.9 Trillion, that would make our debt ceiling at least $14 Trillion. The word disappointed with my own party doesn't apply anymore, I am totally disgusted. Obama is talking about bank tax, this man doesn't understand banks will just turn around and charge it to us, consumers. President Obama is totally inept leading this country, his inexperience is now transparent to all of us.

    I can't wait for November to be here, I've lost faith with my party, they cannot be trusted to do right by the people, for this country; they're so entrench with their social programs even if they have to put this country deeper in debt. I can't see no end in sight in borrowing, increase of taxes under this administration. God help us all.

    January 21, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Nadilyn

    Obama is not concerned with our economic status, he is waiting for us to fall to far behind so that we will accept a socialist government. America wake up!!! The pres is wiping out Capitalism before our own eyes!! When will REAL CHANGE come? Only after the revolution succeeds to bring back Capitalism and less governement control for us to prosper aagain.

    January 21, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. voted for Obama..

    I think President Obama IS concerned with the Politic America BUT I think his "advisors", the David Axlerods of the administration and his co horts are anything but. I am sorry to say, but I think President Obama has been decieved and let down by the very folks who convinced him to run. Knowing they had a winner in a very intelligent, personable, presentable young man of color, they convinced him (and the American voter) he could be elected and run a political machine with the David Axlerod associates as his backup.. I hope he soon realizes they have used him to front their dirty work. I hope for the sake of HIS presidency he cleans house and gets people who really have the United States of Americas welfare in their heart. For sure he would have to step outside D.C. to find them but I'm sure there are a few around. LET'S THINK JOBS MR PRESIDENT.. REAL JOBS..

    January 21, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. mark

    don't worry if you pass the spendulus bill unemployment will be capped at 8% – oh wait, that did not happen...

    January 21, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Marion/Birmingham,Al

    CNN needed to take a poll to understand this? When you can not feed you family,are behind on your house payment,keep getting notices about your past due car payment,why the hell would you be worried about health care for the lazy turds who want eveyone else to take care of them? The Dimocrats lost the Mass senate race themselves,the republicans did not win it,it was a protest of Obama's health care,and lack of attention to the Economy.

    January 21, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Once and for all people, a lot jobs that didn't require an education aren't coming back and they just didn't leave in the last year. Stop complaining and get an education to prepare yourself and your children. There are people employed who have degrees but are back in college getting higher degrees, so try to get atleast something going for yourself and stop complaining.

    January 21, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. CTer

    Jobs? Really? Who would have thought?

    January 21, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Hammerer

    The Dems have no idea about the jobs issue, most have never had one nor created one and would not recognize a job if it bite them.

    January 21, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. Lori in St Pete

    Mandatory health insurance is a moot point now. Funny, MA has a health care system similar to what the dems were trying to pass. With their choice of the rethug in Tuesday's special election, they sent the following message to the rest of the nation: We got ours, the rest of you can drop dead!

    January 21, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Lori in St Pete

    I agree with Mike1952. Cut spending IMMEDIATELY beginning with the defense budget.

    January 21, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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