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Broad support for extending jobless benefits

With Senate Democrats' on the verge of breaking the partisan logjam and passing another extension of jobless benefits, the latest Post-ABC poll shows Americans broadly in favor of lengthening the period for unemployment benefits.

While the national public is closely divided as to whether the federal government should spend more money to try to boost the economy, more than six in 10 support extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed. Thirty-six percent say they oppose the idea.

Fully 80 percent of Democrats back the extension, as do 59 percent of independents and a sizable minority of Republicans (43 percent). Republicans are internally divided about the legislation, though, with six in 10 conservative Republicans opposing it, and about six in 10 moderate or liberal Republicans supportive.

In the poll, respondents' household income is closely related to their views on jobless benefits. Nearly seven in 10 of those who take in under $50K a year support the extension, compared with barely over half among those in $50K plus families.

Support for the benefits rises among subgroups with the highest rates of unemployment. Among African Americans and Hispanics--whose unemployment rates are 15.4 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively--82 percent say they support extending jobless benefits. More than four in 10 whites oppose the extension. Fifty-five percent of college grads--who have unemployment rates at half the national average--back the extension, compared with two-thirds of respondents without a college degree.

And in the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates, 67 percent support the extension, compared with six in 10 throughout the rest of the country.

Those who say job creation should be left to the private sector are less apt to support the congressional action. Some 43 percent in this group back the extension of jobless benefits. Among those who say the federal government should spend more money to boost the economy, support rises to more than eight in 10.

Q. Because of the economic downturn, Congress has extended the period in which people can receive unemployment benefits, and is considering doing so again. Supporters say this will help those who can't find work. Opponents say this adds too much to the federal budget deficit. Do you think Congress should or should not approve another extension of unemployment benefits?

                 Should   Should not    No opinion
All                62         36            2
College grads      55         43            3
Non grad           65         33            2
Democrats          80         19            1
Republicans        43         54            3
Independents       59         38            3
Lib Dems           79         20            1
Mod/cons Dems      80         19            1
Lib/mod Reps       57         41            2
Cons Reps          37         60            4
<$50K              69         29            2
$50K+              53         45            2
Black/Hispanic     82         17            1
Whites             56         41            3

SOURCE: Washington Post-ABC News poll.

By Kyle Dropp  |  July 20, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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Tell Obama to get it from his bankster buddies who are the only ones in the entire country that are laughing now.

You know, the crooks that he didn't fire when we had every right to. The only ones that the government protected, I mean. I'm talking about the criminals that live in the hilltop mansions with acres of perfectly manicured laws, not the suckers who now rightfully live on the street. It's time for the cherished thieves to bail us out for a change, without blaming the irresponsible home buyers who are paying for their mistakes.

Wake up America, people are suffering, but this is a bi-partisan problem. It isn't us taxpayers, nor our children who should pay for this crime!

Posted by: Ryals | July 20, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

No unemployment for the past 46 days? Thank the republicans! For the rest of you -When the economy stalls again - you can thank the republicans too. The republican’s weren’t worried about the deficit when that big insurance company and their friends the Wall Street execs were giving themselves bonuses with taxpayer money!!! Next election – let Congress feel the sting of the unemployment lines!!! No more raping and pillaging the middle class!!! – How many years have you paid taxes? 30? 40? Your government bails out bankers and Wall Street execs using your tax dollars – but unemployment is allowed to expire? What happened to "by the people" or "for the people"? Or are the big campaign contributors the only "people" who count to congress? They are playing games AGAIN FOR THE THIRD TIME while you are wondering how to feed your kids? Figure it out! Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election MAKE YOURSELF MATTER BY VOTING!!! 10% unemployment carries 10% of the vote! Use it!! Fire them all next election or recall every Congress member NOW for Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election - Lets get people elected who actually represent all the People- this current congress represents only special interest groups!

Posted by: agh1 | July 20, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Republicans claim to be looking out for the debt?

Then why did they add over $5 TRILLION to the debt and $1 TRILLION to the annual deficit when they were in power?

Why do they make these claims despite the factual record?

Because they think Americans are STUPID, they think that Americans can't remember what the Republican Party did to our country when they were in power... that's why. The GOP is a sham. And a disgrace to this great country.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 20, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I would have like to see them ask an additional question in the poll: "Have you ever been unemployed and received unemployment compensation?" I would think those who answered yes would have more sympathy for the unemployed and would like to see an extension passed. I'd like the pollsters to get more information about those being polled that goes beyond party affiliation.

Posted by: TheNervousCat | July 20, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@TheNervousCat - Are you implying that all or most of the 62% that voted 'should' in this poll either are or have previously been on unemployment???? That's a pretty high percentage if you ask me! So maybe they should also ask: "Do you have any friends or family members that are or have ever been on unemployment compensation?" This may account for the rest of middle class America that voted yes! I personally have been laid off twice in the past 7 years: 1st due to outsourcing to India (where companies don't pay SS taxes or unemployment) & recently due to company "restructuring" (and probably outsourcing too). I hope this time my unemployment benefits won't run out before I find a new job so that my credit won't be further crippled. This has happened to many so called "irresponsible" home buyers who took a chance that they would remain employed, their pay would go up and the value of their homes would increase. None of these home buyers expected property values to plummet or their jobs to be outsourced. We should make companies pay special taxes on outsourced jobs to compensate for losses to the American economy, including but not limited to, extended unemployment benefits.

Posted by: AmericanCitizenTX | July 20, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

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