Poll: Unemployment trumps the economy
February 11th, 2011
09:33 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Unemployment trumps the economy

Washington (CNN) - No surprise: It's still all about jobs.

According to a new Gallup poll, 35 percent of Americans say unemployment is the most important problem facing the nation. The 35 percent figure is the highest percentage for those who say jobs is the most pressing issue in Gallup polling since October 1983.

Unemployment tops Gallup polling as the most important problem for the second month in a row, with the economy in general, which had been the most important issue, remaining in second place at 29 percent, and health care in third at 16 percent.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted last month, 63 percent of the public said that the economy was extremely important for the president and Congress to deal with, followed by unemployment at 54 percent, and health care reform and the country's massive deficit, each at 52 percent.

The Gallup poll indicates a slight partisan divide, with 41 percent of Democrats saying unemployment's the top issue, followed by the economy in general at 29 percent and health care at 24 percent.

But thirty-two percent of Republicans questioned say the economy in general is the most pressing issue, followed by unemployment at 31 percent and health care at 13 percent.

Thirty-two percent of independent voters questioned say unemployment is the top issue, followed by the economy in general at 27 percent and health care at 13 percent.

The national unemployment rate dropped from 9.4 percent to 9 percent in January, but only 36,000 new jobs were created.

The Gallup poll was conducted February 2-5, with 1,015 national adults questioned by telephone.

The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Economy • Jobs • Polls
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. gt

    its all about getting jobs....if a person doesnt work everything falls apart.... the feds need to do what ever it takes to get jobs going again... free up credit... cut taxes... cut back on over regulations,,,

    February 11, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. kyle

    That's funny,the GOP seems to think that repealing healthcare is the most important thing in the world, even when they know they will fail.

    February 11, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. once upon a horse

    wow you could have fooled me. And here I am thinking that it's all about repealing Healthcare.

    February 11, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    But the House still has time to tackle everything but a Job Stimulus program!

    February 11, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. Terry

    Why don't you show what Gallup's unemploymnet percentage is? Gallup currently has the current unemployment at 9.8% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost a trillion dollars in stimulus and the unemployment go's up????? This administration tries to lie and say unemployment went down to 9% from 9.4%, when there was only 36,000 jobs created??? That my friends is impossible. For Obama to say unemployment is going down, when close to 500,000 people gave up looking for work in December alone, is a travesty. Almost a trillion stimulus dollars wasted, given to unions to replenesh their coffers, and have lavish pay checks, and free health care, and lavish pensions, while we all suffer, almost a trillion stimulus dollars of OUR MONEY, 2012 can't come soon enough.

    February 11, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. jeff, alabama

    I know of a roofer who pays
    hispanics ten dollars an hour
    and uses up to ten on a
    residential job.
    I know of many hispanics
    who live in my area who
    pay cash for cars and help
    the economy here.
    But at the same time I hear of
    high umemployment figures
    in my area.
    So, my point is I and many other
    Americans are sick and tired about
    hearing unemployment percentages
    in this country when it's plain to
    see that alot of people are just not
    going to work no matter what.
    If unemployed Americans wanted to
    work then there would not be 50,000+
    hispanics working in the Alabama
    wire grass area.
    BOO HOO !!!!!!!

    February 11, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    63 percent of the public said that the economy was extremely important for the president and Congress to deal with, followed by unemployment at 54 percent, and health care reform and the country's massive deficit, each at 52 percent.
    And what's the Obama Administration doing about it? Shopping for bullet trains and talking about investing in broadband wireless communications across the prairies of America. As if there aren't already a pile of Venture Capitalists doing exactly the same thing at this very moment, but much more efficiently. I'm sure they will enjoy the benefits of billions of dollars of taxpayer money. Fortunately the American voters were at least able to upgrade our Federal Government's financial management capability by sending a large number of conservative Republicans to congress in November. The Administration is next. 2012 can't get here fast enough.

    February 11, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Sniffit

    In response, the corporate and ultra-wealthy community was heard to be saying that as soon as they're sure the labor force is downtrodden enough to accept less pay and benefits for the same jobs they were doing before the recession, they'll start using the piles of billions that they're sitting on and playing with on Wall Street, keeping the DOW above 12,000, to start creating jobs...but not until they're sure we've been sufficiently punished into submission for having dared to demand fair treatment.

    February 11, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Sometimes, the obvious is lost on Washington.

    February 11, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Cosmo

    Got that House GOP? It's not your ideological checklist of anti-American policies that the American people voted you in for. It is jobs, jobs, jobs. If you don't correct your course of careening to the radical right, you will be in for a severe shock on Eelction Night 2012. The same people that put you in office can kick you out, so knock off the Theatre of the Absurd approach to governing and get to work.

    February 11, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Charlie from the North

    Unemployment is the economy so I guess it is really important. Note to GOP repealing healthcare, cutting programs, deying rights to women and gays (in short your agenda) is not at the top of the list.

    PS Please keep calling it "Obamacare" that way when it becomes as popular as medicare and social security we will remember who to thank.

    February 11, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. rusty155

    The only thing the Republican party Is only worry about Obamacare , so they can help the Big Business the Rich and wall street.I know they say the first thing they was going too do Is get America working, was they lie again so what new the Republican all way lie and tell you want you want too hear. If you don't make over a millions dollar the republican are not worry about you.

    February 11, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  13. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Of course it's jobs. But the clueless Democrats thought passing a TRILLION DOLLAR boondoogle of liberal projects and state-level union bailouts was going to be a magig solution to the problem. WRONG!

    Then they spent a YEAR on their insane "healthcare reform" which is more correctly title YET ANOTHER HUGE GOVERNMENT ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM WE CAN'T AFFORD. Over 2000 pages that will result in HUGE costs to businesses (as well as all of us!) that they must now plan for but can't because the rules and regs aren't even written yet. They NEED to be careful or their largest expense (labor costs) is now an very large UNKNOWN. Thank you Obama, Reid, Pelosi and all the other clueless Democrats that foisted this catastrophe on the American people and economy.

    As long as the leftist Democrats contrl the Senate and Whitehouse, expect job creation to be NILL.

    February 11, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. Dean

    A typical stupid CNN headline......The economy will not improve until unemployment drops.

    February 11, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Poser

    Unemployment was certainly a problem in Oct 1983. Some of you might remember that was during Ronald Reagan's first term as President. You might also remember that recession was fixed with massive amounts of Government spending (yes, Defense is funded by the Government).

    February 11, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. POD

    Let's get something crystal clear here. The unemployment rate drop was mainly due to people running out of unemployment benefits NOT because they found JOBS! That is why the rate went down and very few jobs were created at the same time. You don't have to be an economist to figure that out

    February 11, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Ernie

    All this article gave were "Statistics" that the people already know. I have been to about 15 job fairs gave out over a hundred resumes and never got a "call or an interview". Job Fairs are a "JOKE". All the people who are saying that the ecomomy has imporved they should go to a "JOB FAIR" and they will see all the people who are unemployed. The lines are out the door just to get in and speak to someone who represents a company. The representatives for each company only gives you a couple of minutes to explain why you want a job. Then they put your resume on a pile of other resumes that will never be even looked at or even be called. That's because there are no "JOBS". This is something that is done every two the three months. CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser can give all the "Statistics" he wants it still isn't going to create "JOBS". Obama know this. I get 5 to 8 calls a week from recruiters I give what they want I call them back they don't return my phone calls and I never hear from them again. I don't believe the "unemployment figures" evey week they are either going "Up or Down". As long as people who are out of work the ecomomy will never recover. Don't believe anything an ecomomist says or what comes out of Washington or what is written. The ones who really know are the people in the "Private Sector" their the ones who create jobs "NOT THE GOVERNMENT". So the next time there is a "JOB FAIR" go and see how many people are applying for jobs and you will be "SHOCKED" to see what the real "UNEMPLOYMENT" figure is.

    February 11, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. anagram_kid

    At some point Americans are going to have to understand that it is not just about having jobs available; it is about being employable. We need to make education and training a higher priority than sports and entertainment. We need a massive culture change that stops rewarding ignorance and celebrity and starts rewarding skill and productivity.
    Rush Limbaugh likes to say that he never got a job from a poor person. Well I have never got a job from someone who thought that watching cars drive in a circle was more productive than reading a book.

    February 11, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |