Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Poll: Southerners OK with federal help, even more OK with help for jobs

A new poll shows that people in the section of the country that has historically been more interested in states' sovereignty wishes the federal government would do more about job losses and the economy.

The Winthrop Poll of 866 respondents in 11 Southern states found the economy was the top concern of four in 10 - the same share of people who said they were concerned about losing their job, according to the AP.

Overall, the economy was the biggest worry for 39 percent of the Southerners, followed by health care and unemployment at 12 percent each. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they were somewhat concerned or very concerned about possibly losing their jobs during the next year. ...

The poll found abundant finger-pointing for the economic mess as nearly three-quarters of the respondents said banks and financial institutions took unnecessary risks and shouldered a "good amount" or "great deal" of the blame. The same percentage blamed economic problems on consumers for taking on too much debt and big businesses for poor management decisions.

Getting out of the nation's financial mess is something the government should take the lead on, the poll respondents overwhelmingly said.

Nearly 72 percent said they favored new government programs to create jobs. Meanwhile, 63 percent said the federal government needs to give aid to states in serious financial trouble. Those positions were strongest among Democrats and independents, while Republicans were narrowly opposed.

Nonetheless, nearly 58 percent of the Southerners polled said the current federal stimulus efforts were making things worse or having no effect. ...

The Winthrop Poll also found a sizable number of people who weren't decided on a national health care overhaul, the nation's biggest ongoing political and policy debate. Southerners were asked if they'd call on their federal legislators to vote for or against the legislation. Just under a third said they would encourage a vote for the bill and 42 percent said they'd encourage a vote against it. ...

The Winthrop Poll involved randomly dialed land and cellular telephone interviews with 886 people 18 and older in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The interviews were conducted between Oct. 24 and Nov. 7. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent.

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