HUFFPOLLSTER: Most Americans Aren't Happy With The Current Unemployment Rate


Americans aren’t sure they trust the latest jobs numbers. Reactions to Republicans’ health care proposal split largely along political lines. And we commemorate Pi Day with…pie charts.This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, March 14, 2017.

THE PUBLIC TAKES A DIM VIEW OF JOBS NUMBERS, BUT FEW BLAME ― OR CREDIT ― TRUMP – HuffPollster and Arthur Delaney, on a new HuffPost/YouGov poll: “The majority of Americans, 54 percent, describe the current unemployment rate as ‘not so good’ or ‘poor,’ with just 32 percent calling it ‘excellent’ or ‘“good.’ But either way, few see the number as much of a reflection on Trump’s brief time in office. Sixty-five percent of those who say the unemployment rate is ‘not so good’ or ‘poor’ say that Trump deserves little or none of the blame, while 61 percent who say the rate is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ say Trump deserves little or none of the credit….Democrats polled still have a rosier view of the current numbers ― 40 percent say the unemployment rate is good or excellent, compared to 33 percent of Republicans who say the same. Opinions are far more sharply split along the lines of the 2016 election, with 52 percent of voters who supported Hillary Clinton, but just 27 percent of those who backed Trump, saying the current numbers are good.” [HuffPost]

Few are confident in the official unemployment rate – More from the survey: “Just 29 percent of Americans polled say they’re confident that the currently reported 4.7 percent unemployment rate is correct. Forty percent say they’re not confident, and another 31 percent say they’re unsure ― a finding that tracks with the public’s widespread distrust of most major institutions. Among those who lack confidence, 82 percent believe that the real unemployment rate is actually higher. Democrats are somewhat less likely than Republicans to say they trust the latest numbers, although the difference pales in comparison to the partisan splits seen on other issues….That’s a shift from a previous survey taken during the Obama administration. While few Americans then were inclined to believe the official numbers either, a Politico-Harvard poll taken in September showed that Democrats were the most likely to express faith in the government’s data.”

INITIAL REACTIONS ARE DIVIDED ON REPUBLICANS’ NEW HEALTH CARE BILL – HuffPollster: “Initial public reactions to the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act are divided, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with a narrow plurality of Americans saying the proposal would mark a step down. While 27 percent of Americans expect the new health care bill, if it passes, would be better than the current law, 32 percent think it would be worse, and 13 percent that it would be about the same. Another 28 percent aren’t sure….While a majority of Americans believe Trump backs the bill, just 11 percent say that Republicans in Congress are united in support of it. Fifty-eight percent are aware that some Republicans are opposed. Nevertheless, with much about the Republican proposal still up in the air, public opinion divides largely, if not universally, along partisan lines. Democrats are 43 percentage points likelier than Republicans, at 68 percent to 25 percent, to favor the current health care law.” [HuffPost]

One reason for the partisan split – With relatively little information about the bill’s effects at hand ― CBO estimates weren’t available at the time the survey was fielded ― many respondents may have looked to partisan cues to guide their opinions. Such cues were present in the survey, which identified the current law as “President Obama’s health care law,” and the proposal under consideration as being recently released by “Republican leaders in the House of Representatives.”

How the divides break down along other demographic lines – Older Americans, many of whom would see their insurance rates rise under the new plan, are among the most supportive, largely because they’re also the most likely to be Republican ― 38 percent of those over age 65, and 30 percent of those aged 45-64 think the new bill would be an improvement, compared to about a fifth of those under 45. There’s less variation across income levels, although Americans in households making under $50,000 annually are less likely expect the bill to be an improvement than in wealthier households.

TRUMP’S NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER ON IMMIGRATION? MOSTLY THE SAME AS THE OLD ONE, AMERICANS SAY – HuffPollster: “President Donald Trump’s revised executive order on immigration strikes a plurality of the public as being largely the same as his initial order, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds….Forty-three percent of Americans say the order is not very different from the old executive order, while 24 percent say it’s better and 7 percent that it’s worse. Trump voters, who overwhelmingly backed the plan to begin with, are the most likely to consider it an improvement, with 46 percent saying the new order is better and 36 percent that it’s not much different. In contrast, two-thirds of Hillary Clinton voters see the new order as largely unchanged from the previous version, with just 18 percent considering it an improvement.” [HuffPost]

Americans’ attitudes toward refugees are complicated. So is measuring them – Ipsos’ Chris Jackson: “A few weeks ago, the Reuters/Ipsos poll caught a news cycle with the first poll after the first refugee ban…The most widely circulated finding was that a plurality of Americans (48%) supported the ban while an almost equivalent number (41%) opposed it…When asked if the U.S. should take in refugees who have passed a series of background checks, interviews, and biometric screenings, a very large majority of 82% agreed that we should…How can a majority of Americans support admitting refugees who pass checks and a plurality of Americans support a ban that ends the admittance of refugees at the same time? First, Americans’ priorities shift when the framing and context of issues shift….Second, Americans’ knowledge of detailed policy tends to be shallow. Most people have minimal familiarity with the preexisting refugee screening criteria.” [HuffPost]

MOST AMERICANS SAY RACE RELATIONS HAVE GOTTEN WORSE IN THE PAST YEAR – Marist: “A majority of Americans remain downbeat about the overall status of race relations in the United States, although that number has improved. 51% of Americans say race relations in this country have gotten worse in the past year, but that is down from 58% in September 2015. However, there has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who say race relations are status quo and characterize that as a bad thing….Examining perceptions of U.S. race relations under President Donald Trump, 52% of Americans think race relations will get worse.  26% say they will improve, and 18% believe they will remain about the same.  Four percent are unsure.” [Marist]

IN HONOR OF PI DAY… HuffPost Pollster made some pie charts. About pie. (Data courtesy of the Roper Center.)

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TUESDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ – Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Nate Cohn finds that supporters of President Donald Trump could stand to lose the most under Republicans’ new health care bill. [NYT]

-Ben Casselman argues that the White House’s attacks on jobs data are a dangerous move. [538]

-Phillip Connor and Jens Manuel Krogstad break down the ramifications of Trump’s new order on immigration. [Pew]

-Erin M. Kearns, Allison Betus and Anthony Lemieux write that the media focuses disproportionately on terror attacks carried out by Muslim perpetrators. [WashPost]

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