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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending September 8, 2012

Saturday, September 08, 2012

What a way to end a convention. By most accounts, Democrats had a highly successful national convention in Charlotte, but Friday’s jobs report put a sour finish to a week President Obama’s party hoped would put him on the road to reelection.

While the results seemed to surprise many economic forecasters, American workers saw it coming. The Rasmussen Employment Index fell nine points in August to 72.0, the lowest level of confidence since October 2011. Worker confidence in the labor market is now roughly the same as it was in the month following the Wall Street meltdown in the fall of 2008. This is the second straight month that the number reporting layoffs topped the number reporting hiring. Prior to that, there had been eight straight months with more hiring than layoffs reported.

Concern about job security is rising. Twenty-nine percent (29%) of workers are worried about losing their jobs, up four points from a month ago and the highest level of concern measured in 10 months. Just 62% of workers believe it will be their choice when they change jobs. That’s down 12 points from July and down 19 points from May.

Despite the convention hoopla and the effusive media coverage, “the reality the political pundits too often miss is that what happens in the economy matters more than what happens in the campaigns,” Scott Rasmussen reminds us in his latest weekly syndicated column

Scott explores the impact of the economy on the presidential race with Democratic strategist Michael Murphy and Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard on “What America Thinks, with Scott Rasmussen.” Other guests looked at the health care issue and whether or not it makes sense to withdraw troops from Western Europe. The show debuts this weekend on over 60 television stations nationwide. Check the list of stations here

Now there’s concern about wage stagnation, too. Just (40%) think they will be earning more money a year from now than they are today, but 46% now believe their earnings will be about the same. It’s the first time since January that working Americans have thought what they earn is more likely to stay the same over the next year rather than go up. 

The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes don’t offer much relief either. Just 21% of consumers report their personal finances are getting better these days, while 49% say they are getting worse. Among investors, 26% say their finances are getting better, but 47% say their finances are getting worse. However, all of these numbers may shift following the jobs report.

As for the retirement picture, while most voters continue to regard Social Security favorably, only 40% are even somewhat confident that the government retirement system will pay them all their promised benefits in their lifetime.   Only half believe Social Security is a good deal for working Americans today.

Former President Bill Clinton brought his considerable speaking skills to the Democratic National Convention podium Wednesday night to argue that Obama has the nation on the right economic course. But there is a huge partisan divide over whether Clinton and Obama actually agree on what’s best for the economy

Obama continues to earn positive marks for leadership from nearly half the nation’s voters, but there’s a wide partisan difference of opinion on this question as well. It’s important to note, however, that these attitudes were measured prior to his prime-time speech Thursday night to the Democratic convention.

For the full month of August, the president's Job Approval rating moved up a point to 48% from 47% in July. That number has remained fairly steady for nearly three years. If the election were held today, the president's overall Job Approval number is a good indicator of what percentage of the vote he would earn.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney received a modest bounce following the GOP’s national convention two weeks ago and has led Obama in both the daily Presidential Tracking Poll and our daily Swing State tracking  for several days now. But the president has already started to get a bounce of his own from the Democratic convention.

Economic issues were front and center at the Republican convention, while Democrats were happy to let social issues share the stage. Scott Rasmussen explains why in a new radio update. (Listen to Scott’s radio updates three times daily Monday through Friday on a radio station in your area, courtesy of the WOR Radio Network.)

Clint Eastwood delivered one of the most unusual convention speeches in recent memory at the Republican gathering, and America’s Political Class didn’t know what to make of it. But most Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party still view the 82-year old movie icon favorably, while Democrats now offer mixed reviews.

After falling for two straight months, the number of Americans who consider themselves Republicans has jumped to the highest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Report since monthly tracking began in November 2002. During August, 37.6% of Americans considered themselves Republicans. The number of Democrats slipped to 33.3% from 34.0% in June and July. Those who say they are not affiliated with either major political party fell to 29.2% last month, the smallest number of unaffiliated voters since 2009.

Republicans again lead Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot after the two were tied the week before for the first time since November.  Republicans have consistently held a modest advantage on the ballot since June 2009.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continue to be the most disliked leaders of Congress, but none of the top congressional leaders earns high positive reviews from voters.  

Twenty-nine percent (29%) of American Adults went to concerts or theater events this summer, and 11 Rasmussen Challenge participants correctly predicted that answer this week. They're among 3,500 Rasmussen Reports readers who've participated in the Challenge so far. The ultimate champion wins an iPad. See contest details here

Sign up for The Rasmussen Reader, now just $24.95 for a 12-month subscription . Offer good through October 1, 2012.

In other surveys last week:

-- Half of all voters still support an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and are evenly divided as to whether that nation is a vital national security interest for our nation.

-- Thirty-one percent (31%) of voters now say the country is heading in the right direction, the highest finding since early July.  Sixty-two percent (62%) think the country is heading down the wrong track.

-- Fifty percent (50%) of voters continue to favor repeal of the president’s national health care law. Forty-one percent (41%) oppose repeal. Most voters have favored repeal since the law was passed by Congress in March 2010.

-- Americans continue to recognize childhood obesity as a serious problem, but they don’t believe it’s the government’s job to control it. 

-- Slightly more Americans took a summer vacation this year, and fewer cited economic conditions as a reason to spend less on that vacation. 

-- Labor Day, celebrated last Monday, was originally meant as a day to recognize the nation's work force, but more than half of Americans continue to see it more as an unofficial end to summer. 

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Wall Street Journal profile called Scott Rasmussen "America's Insurgent Pollster." The Washington Post described him as "a driving force in American politics."  If you'd like Scott to speak at your conference or event, contact Premiere Speakers Bureau.

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