Poll: Majority support for extending jobless benefits
January 9th, 2014
08:21 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: Majority support for extending jobless benefits

Washington (CNN) - As a push to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed faces an uncertain future in Congress, a new national poll indicates majority support for a three-month extension.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey, 58% of registered voters nationwide say they favor a three-month extension of the benefits for people currently out of work.

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The poll, which was released Wednesday, indicates a partisan divide, with overwhelming support from Democrats (83%-13%), majority backing from independents (54%-41%), and opposition from Republicans by a 54%-42% margin.

Thanks to support from six Republican lawmakers, the legislation passed an initial procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, but some of those Republicans say they will pull their support unless Democrats come up with a way to pay for the $6.4 billion bill.

The White House and congressional Democrats say the legislation is a top priority, but Republicans accuse them of sabotaging their own bill - by refusing to come up with a compromise offset - in order to have a political issue they could use to attack Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections.

So how might the issue, which is increasingly in the national spotlight, affect November's midterm elections, when the entire House of Representatives and more than a third of the Senate are up for grabs?

"If a candidate for Congress supports extending jobless benefits, 33 percent are more likely to vote for that candidate, with 24 percent less likely and 40 percent who say it won't affect their vote," says a release from Quinnipiac University.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted January 4-7, with 1,487 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Senior Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • Polls • unemployment
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. sickofit

    The GOP does not give one whit about what the majority of Americans want. They only care what the Tea Party wants.

    January 9, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "If you want to learn something and be open to the other side of the argument with regards to long term UI, look at North Carolina."

    Don't be silly. Just so everyone understands: NC's GOP/Teatrolls got rid of state benefits, which disqualified NC for the federal program as well. The unemployment RATE fell, but the number of unemployed remained almost constant because the decrease in unemployment RATE was entirely related to a surge in people ceasing to look for work in response to the screwing the GOP/Teatrolls had just handed them. NC's labor participation rate just hit an all time low this past October, and if you look at the line graph of it, you can see the massive nosedive after the GOP/Teatrolls in NC pulled this stunt. They gave up because they were being beat down. Google the "7 charts that show why Congress should extend long term unemployment benefits."

    January 9, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Sniffit

    Harvard economist Lawrence Katz estimates that $1 billion in economic activity was lost in the first week as a result of the unemployment benefit extension sitting in this limbo.

    January 9, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. rs

    Keith ..... in Oregon

    I think most Republicans are actually in favor of extending the benefits. They simply insist that doing that isn't free so let's pay for it. The administration says "No". Then CNN and most posters here brand the Republicans as hard-hearted, mean-spirited and obstructionists. Excellent logic!
    Sorry, not buying it. The GOP wants to "help" the poor by ending their food support, or help students by de-funding schools, or the unemployed by taking away UI.
    One the other hand, they protect industry supports for oil (that costs far more than the support for the hungry or poor) in the form of corporate socialism.
    The GOP's real problem is it no loger actually "sees" people in our nation. They see problems, but not the people suffering those problems. They see the President standing with "props" not the problems of those people he is trying to fix. Lastly: "corporations are people too". That is the delusion of the GOP and their rich patriarchs.

    January 9, 2014 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Stuffitu

    I worked hard all my life, paid my taxes, acted responsibly and now I M called a right wing extremist racist by democrat liberals because Idon't want my money used to support the lifestyle of dope addicts, welfare frauds and corrupt union bosses. Their idea is to Munich us for doing the right thing. Income equality means tearing down those who work hard in order to build up the oxygen thieves. This is an Obamanation.

    January 9, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  6. rs

    tom l

    If you want to learn something and be open to the other side of the argument with regards to long term UI, look at North Carolina.
    Brilliant. A state so psychotic that it ended their unemployment (compensation) problem by doing away with the UI altogether. No compensation, no reason to count the unemployed. Viola'! Full employment!

    January 9, 2014 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. rs

    Hector Slagg

    Suppose the Congress approves this extension for 3 months. If the jobs picture doesn't improve then what? For all practical purposes the Obama Administration has only one plan. Screw the rich, the real job creators. Some of you on here are calling the real job creators garbage. With Obama Care keeping unemployment too high there will be few jobs in the balance. You can scream and holler all you want to, but in the long run, Beggars can't be choosers. Sorry! Those are the facts!
    Hector- you overlook just one teensy thing: while the GOP has aggressively torn up the social safety net for the poor- cutting food stupport, reducing income supports and expiring UI, absolutely NOTHING has been done to the rich. Their tax rates haven't been jacked up (Romney still pays at a far lower rate than I do). No castles seized, no businesses taken, no income caps implemented- nothing. The rich still get their industry supports. The poor? No so much.
    So- what would you do? What's your big plan to take care of the poor in America?

    January 9, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Fair is Fair


    Harvard economist Lawrence Katz estimates that $1 billion in economic activity was lost in the first week as a result of the unemployment benefit extension sitting in this limbo.
    In a $17 Trillion economy, care to tell the class what $1 Billion in "lost economic activity" is?

    January 9, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Keith ...in Oregon
    My problem with the administration and their supporters is that they did not propose any cuts to pay for it. Their response was a simple, "No".
    Harry Reid has repeatedly said that he would consider any suggestions as to where the money would come from to pay for the extension.
    It is precisely because the Republicans are suggesting that the money be taken from programs that affect average Americans already overburdened versus corporations or defense spending that we are in the current impasse Keith.
    This administration has repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to compromise (See John Boehner's grinning face after the debt ceiling negotiations of 2011). The Republicans have on the other hand demonstrated an uncanny talent for hostage-taking and fiscally irresponsible goverment shutdowns.

    January 9, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. ThinkAgain - If you want Congress to actually do something FOR the American people, vote out the Repub/tea bag majority

    A majority of Americans – including repubs (per a Fox poll) – supported universal background checks.
    A majority of Americans – including American millionaires and billionaires – supported raising taxes on the rich.
    A majority of Americans – TWICE – elected President Obama.

    Repubs/tea bags have opposed all of the above (plus much more).

    The conclusion: Repubs and tea bags do NOT believe in representative democracy, let alone the will of the American people.

    The solution? Vote out all the repubs and tea bags on November 4, 2014.

    January 9, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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