Three out of four Americans, including nearly identical numbers of Democrats and Republicans, say that the weak economy has become the most urgent concern in recent months. An overwhelming number from both political parties favor a national program that would provide paid work and training opportunities while addressing national and community needs.
These are among the findings of a public opinion poll from Gallup and Carnegie Corporation of New York, Back to Work: Listening to Americans. It indicates a broad, bipartisan consensus on what a COVID-19 economic recovery plan must address. The findings come during an economic downturn with significant, long-term unemployment among workers in sectors directly affected by the pandemic, such as food service and hospitality, as well as others who were already losing jobs due to automation or changing consumer demand.
Among the survey highlights:
- 76 percent say that during the past six months, the most urgent issue has become the economic recession and job loss; 62 percent say access to healthcare and health insurance
- 93 percent “strongly favor” or “favor” a national program that would provide paid work and job training opportunities, including 98 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans
- 64 percent say they would support such a program because it would promote long-term economic growth by putting people back to work and helping them build skills for future jobs, including a majority of both Democrats and Republicans
- 62 percent across both parties say that pairing paid work with education or training opportunities is the best way to prepare people for future jobs versus paid work (17 percent) or education (16 percent) alone
- 80 percent or more of Democrats and Republicans assign a “high” or “medium” priority to six goals that could be addressed by creating new jobs as part of this program:
- Delivering food and medical prescriptions or providing care to elderly and other vulnerable populations
- Addressing the impact of lost learning for K–12 students
- Building and repairing infrastructure
- Preventing and addressing the consequences of natural disasters
- Expanding access to quality childcare
- Expanding access to high-speed Internet
“The survey tells us that we must move quickly to help young people make important transitions to college and career while creating alternative pathways for workers who lack the skills and training needed for a rapidly changing jobs market,” said LaVerne Evans Srinivasan, vice president of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s National Program and program director for Education. “Our schools, communities, and economy are inextricably linked and require a coherent strategy aimed at overcoming our shared challenges and reaching long-term economic growth and prosperity.”
“What Americans really want is a good job. The research demonstrates that both Republicans and Democrats are united in their desire for job opportunities and support for jobs and training initiatives.” said Justin Lall, an associate principal of Gallup.
Commissioned by the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Back to Work survey was conducted by Gallup between October 21 and November 5, 2020. The findings are based on a nationally representative, web-based survey of 1,993 participants.
Learn more about Back to Work: Listening to Americans via Gallup.com.
Celeste Ford | Carnegie Corporation of New York
About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Carnegie considered of paramount importance: education, international peace, and a strong democracy.
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