According to the federal government, the U.S. unemployment rate now tops 10 percent — the highest it has been in 26 years. Some economists say that the federal estimate is low, and the actual unemployment rate, which is calculated by accounting for unemployed Americans who are either no longer looking for a job or who have taken part-time work out of desperation, is anywhere between 15 percent and 18 percent.
The recent gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia showed just how powerful the jobs issue has become with Americans. Voters in both of those states ousted the ruling party and elected Republican Chris Christie in New Jersey and Republican Bob McDonnell in Virginia.
Both Christie and McDonnell staked claim to the jobs issue early in their races. But McDonnell had exceptional success branding himself as the “jobs governor” and crushed his Democratic opponent by 18 percentage points on Election Day.
Yet instead of focusing on job creation, the White House and Democratic leaders are putting all of their energy into job-killers like their healthcare reform and cap-and-trade global warming legislation.
The louder Americans scream about jobs, the less Obama and his counterparts in Congress seem to care.
A recent poll conducted by Zogby International and The O’Leary Report bears this out. The Poll surveyed 2,879 Americans on Nov. 10-12, all of whom voted in the 2008 presidential election, and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1.9 percentage points.
The Poll asked: “The U.S. House of Representatives approved a new healthcare bill recently.
“If approved by the Senate as is, companies that do not offer health insurance would be penalized based on payroll costs. This could include small firms with 25 or fewer workers depending on the payroll size.
“Most Democrats support this as a way to encourage businesses to offer healthcare to their employees, while most Republicans disagree with this because they say it discourages increased pay or new hires a small firms. Do you agree or disagree with this portion of the bill?
A strong plurality of voters (45 percent) “strongly disagree” with penalizing small businesses that don’t provide health insurance for their employees. Only 19 percent “strongly agree” with such a penalty. An additional 10 percent of voters “somewhat disagree,” and 20 percent “somewhat agree.”
Among Independent voters, the disagreement with penalizing small businesses is even stronger, as 48 percent “strongly disagree” and just 15 percent “strongly agree.” An additional 12 percent “somewhat disagree” and 20 percent “somewhat agree.”
A sizeable majority of small business owners (55 percent) “strongly disagree” and only 15 percent “strongly agree.” An additional 11 percent of small business owners “somewhat disagree,” and 16 percent “somewhat agree.”
The Poll also asked voters how much they trust the Obama administration, and House and Senate Democratic leadership to get legislation passed that creates jobs in 2010.
A majority of voters (53 percent) do not trust the Obama administration in this regard, and 59 percent of independent voters don’t either. A convincing 62 percent of small business owners also don’t trust the White House on this front.
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate fare even worse with voters on jobs creation.
A 62 percent majority of voters do not trust Senate Democratic leadership to get job-creating legislation passed in 2010, and neither do 69 percent of Independent voters and 71 percent of small business owners.
On the House side, 60 percent of voters don’t trust Democratic leadership to pass laws that create jobs. A strong 68 percent of both independent voters and small business owners don’t trust House leadership in this regard either.
So it’s clear that American voters harbor a lot of disagreement and mistrust toward the Obama administration and Democrats in congress when it comes to the most important issue of the day: jobs.
Brad O’Leary is publisher of “The O’Leary Report,” is a best-selling author, and is a former NBC Westwood One talk-show host. Visit www.olearyreport.com.
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