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Poll: Jobs, economy top voters’ concerns

Public Notice released on Sunday the results of a national survey of likely voters. Jobs and the economy, along with federal spending and debt, topped the list of voter concerns.

A desire for fiscal responsibility is underscored by the fact that a majority of voters (67 percent) believe there needs to be either major (46 percent) or modest (21 percent) changes to Medicare. Additionally, solid majorities see a direct link between the debt and the health of the economy (67 percent), as well as that of their own family.

The survey was conducted by the Tarrance Group via telephone Aug. 19-23, 2012, among 801 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

Public Notice is a nonpartisan organization headed by Gretchen Hamel, a former Bush administration spokesperson.

“Americans want fiscal responsibility from their government above all else, and these numbers state that loud and clear,” Hemal said in a statement on the poll numbers. “Despite the constant focus on distractions and gotcha politics, a majority of voters remain concerned about the direction of the country, specifically the economy and growing national debt. The days of politicians promising the world to win favor among interest groups and sway voters is drawing to a close.

“These results indicate that Americans are ready for Washington to make tough choices. The only remaining question is whether Washington is ready.”

Key Findings:

· The presidential ballot test is virtually tied among likely voters, with 46 percent supporting Mitt Romney and 47 percent supporting Barack Obama. Another 7 percent are undecided. President Obama’s approval rating is mostly negative, with 46 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving of his job performance.

· Voters continue to hold mainly negative views of the country’s direction and financial situation. A majority (59 percent) say the country is on the wrong track, and only 26 percent say the economy is getting better. A plurality (44 percent) say the economy is getting worse, which is an increase of +7 points since June of this year.

· Economic issues are the most important to voters, with the top two issues being the economy and jobs (37%) and government spending and the federal deficit (17 percent). While Medicare is certainly in the news recently, only 7 percent of voters say this is the most important issue, including only 13 percent of seniors.

· Voters give President Obama weak ratings when it comes to the economy. A plurality (45 percent) say his economic policies have made the economy worse, and a majority (54 percent) say Obama does not fully understand how to fix the economy. When asked this of Romney, a plurality (46 percent) also say he does not fully understand how to fix the economy.

· A strong majority of voters see an impact from the rising federal debt, with a majority saying that the economy (67 percent) and they/their own family (53 percent) are extremely or very impacted by the debt. When it comes to plans for lowering the debt, a majority say Obama does not have a plan to lower the debt, while a plurality say Romney does.

· Half (49 percent) of voters have seen, read, or heard something about Paul Ryan’s economic budget plan. Among those who are aware of it, a majority (52 percent) favor the plan, while 42 percent oppose it. Support for the plan is at majority level among Independents (55 percent) and seniors (54 percent).

· Voters clearly believe that something has to be done with Medicare, as a majority say the program needs major (46 percent) or modest (21 percent) changes. The perceived need for major changes to Medicare is driven by younger voters, with 55 percent of those under 55 saying major changes are needed. However, a plurality (45 percent) of near retirees (those 55-64) say major changes are needed, along with one third (33 percent) of seniors.

· Voters are also pessimistic about the impact of President Obama’s healthcare law on Medicare. A plurality (46 percent) say the law will make Medicare worse, while only 34 percent say it will make Medicare better. At least a plurality of seniors (49 percent), women (45 percent), households with children (50 percent), and Independents (51 percent) say Obama’s healthcare law will make Medicare worse.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press