GOP voters, they’re no fan of the President. There are relatively few Obama Republicans compared to Reagan Democrats. But when it comes to doing something on unemployment, party matters less at the moment: the President’s jobs plan is enjoying wide support.
TPM reported on Tuesday about Obama’s messaging pivot on the the economy, splitting off the jobs issue and leaving the deficit mess to the Super Committee. But Gallup data now shows the jobs bill working as a crossover issue on the policy itself. In fact, four of the proposals included in the package (small business tax cuts, more funds to hire teachers, cops, and firefighters, business tax breaks for hiring new workers and more infrastructure spending) all see majority support from Republicans and GOP-leaning Americans.
And we haven’t even mentioned eliminating tax loopholes for corporations, which 53 percent of Republicans support as well.
There is still a political tinge to it: only 40 percent of Republicans and leaners think it will help in creating new jobs and a mere 29 percent say it will help improve the overall economy. Democrats think both of those things will happen at rates in the high eighties. The seemingly conflicting results outline a trend on the jobs bill: voters support individual components of it but are so pessimistic on the economy that there remains skepticism on how much it can actually help.
A Marist/McClatchy poll released on Tuesday showed so much frustration on the economy that voters are blaming everyone and are desperate for some sort of turnaround. The survey shows that 60 percent of registered voters think Obama inherited current the current economic conditions, including 58 percent of independents, but as with other surveys, they strongly disapprove of his handling of the issue. Three quarters still believe we are in a recession and 61 percent think the worst is yet to come.
But the Marist/McClatchy survey shows that Americans are willing to try the jobs plan as a remedy, even though a full 63 percent doesn’t think the plan goes far enough. Marist pointed out in a memo accompanying the poll that “71% want the Republicans in Congress to either pass the president’s proposed jobs plan or push the bill through with revisions,” including a 9 percent of GOP votes who want it passed as is and 41 percent that wanted it passed with revisions.
In any case, the numbers show that voters are clearly in favor of action to help halt the jobs crisis, rather than a plan of cuts and austerity in the hopes that the economy turns around on its own. Which makes things slightly difficult for Congressional Republicans and presidential candidates, who have been slow to embrace such a plan.
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Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.