In a poll conducted March 6-9, Gallup asked, “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?”
The top three issues cited were unemployment/jobs (19%), dissatisfaction with government/Congress/politicians; poor leadership/corruption/abuse of power (18%), and the economy in general (17%).
The very last item on the list was the gap between the rich and the poor (3%). And yet income inequality is the focus of nearly every Obama speech and many of his policy initiatives.
What does that tell you?
Based on these polling results, Obama is a tad out of touch with the priorities of most Americans. That doesn’t surprise me. Nor does it surprise me that he pounds away on the income inequality talking points anyway. Redistribution of wealth and leveling the playing field are key components of his ideology. He’s not about to abandon them for popularity purposes.
Now some would argue that the reason Obama focuses on the inequality issue so heavily is because it got him elected twice. I’m not so sure about that. Particularly with respect to the 2012 election, it’s possible that Obama got elected in spite of those talking points. Many voters simply didn’t feel inspired to switch over to the other guy and give him a shot.
The GOP didn’t message opportunity nearly as well as Obama messaged redistribution.
With respect to the jobs situation today, Jim Pethokoukis reminds us:
But what kind of jobs are being created? There are still 4.1 million fewer full-time workers today than in November 2007, just before the Great Recession began. About 81% of workers are full-time now vs. 83% prerecession.
To push this further, the CBO says employment at the end of 2013 was about 6 million jobs short of where it would be if the unemployment rate had returned to its prerecession level “and if the participation rate had risen to the level it would have attained without the current cyclical weakness.”
So in terms of total, full-time positions, we are 7.7 million jobs short of where we would be if the labor market were fully recovered.
Are people satisfied with this? No. Do they want solutions? Yes. Would they embrace a well-articulated, pro-prosperity alternative? I think many would. So, what is the GOP waiting for to grab these voters? Where’s the outreach? Where are the well-marketed jobs proposals? Sure, proposals exist. But how many people know about them? When is the last time you saw a massive television/radio communications campaign to articulate those plans and make clear who’s been standing in their way?
GOP, the public is telling you what they care about. A great time to start talking to them would be now.
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