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Poll: After debt debate, Obama must turn to jobs

Someday, the impasse over the debt ceiling will end.

When it does, the Obama White House will need to refocus on job creation. And quickly. A new report Friday showing tepid economic growth in the second quarter is only the latest piece of evidence that the recovery is stalled.

So, amid the frantic efforts to lift the debt cap and avert an historic default, senior White House aides met with a manufacturing group earlier in the week to review the findings of a poll that suggested a way forward.

Officials with the Alliance for American Manufacturing presented the survey to White House senior advisors Pete Rouse, Stephanie Cutter and others in a meeting Monday in Cutter’s office. The results suggested anew that Washington is preoccupied with issues that are removed from the public’s everyday concerns.

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When asked if the White House and Congress should focus more on jobs or deficit reduction, by a 2-1 margin people chose jobs.

Even the most conservative wing of the Republican Party – the “tea party’’ supporters  -- ranked jobs over the deficit by four points, according to the survey.

When the debt ceiling crisis passes, Obama will need to reassure voters that jobs are his top focus. A total of 53% rated their personal economic condition as negative; compared to 49% one year ago. And 60% predicted that the next generation will be worse off economically than their own.

The poll showed manufacturing outranked other industries as a measure of the nation’s economic strength.  But it’s not clear the public believes Obama recognizes that.

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In repeated trips around the country, Obama has stressed a commitment to manufacturing jobs. In June, for example, the president announced a public-private partnership to invest in advanced manufacturing jobs.

Yet one of the poll’s conclusions was that “Few believe their leaders are doing anything to improve the current state of manufacturing.’’

The survey quoted an Ohio woman as saying: “Right now I don’t see anybody doing anything.’’

Conducing the poll were two firms: The Mellman Group and Ayres, McHenry & Associates.

 


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