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.
July 20, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories: Post Polls
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