Voters: Jobs and manufacturing are top priorities

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Voters say that creating jobs and strengthening manufacturing are top U.S. priorities, according to a poll of focus groups conducted by a bipartisan team of prominent Republican and Democratic pollsters.

By a sizeable margin, voters rated manufacturing as the industry “most important to the overall strength of the American economy,” and support a national strategy to restore America’s global leadership.

About 56 percent of the voters don’t believe the U.S. has the world’s strongest economy, and fewer than 25 percent believe anyone in Washington, D.C., is doing anything to help enforce a level playing field for U.S. manufacturers. However, 88 percent think it’s possible the U.S. could have the strongest economy in the world, and 982 percent believe it is important to regain that position.

“It’s striking how clearly voters—Republican and Democrat alike—see strengthening manufacturing as the key to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance of American Manufacturing, a non-partisan, non-profit industry trade group that commissioned the poll.

This is the third straight year in which AAM has commissioned a national poll. Paul said that the favorable impression of American manufacturing continues to increase with each year’s polling.

When it comes to trade with China, the poll found that voters emphatically support tough action on Beijing’s currency policies and to enforce its other trade obligations.

“These findings make clear that a strong majority of voters believe Washington should stand up to China’s unfair trade practices, and that there is overwhelming support for a national strategy to restore U.S. leadership in manufacturing,” Paul said.

Indeed, overwhelming majorities of independent, Republican, and Democratic voters expressed strong support for “a national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, education and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States.”

The survey also explored the Obama Administration’s decision to rescue the U.S. auto industry. 57 percent of those surveyed think the quality of cars produced by the U.S. auto industry has improved. And regarding the actual rescue decision, when presented with arguments for and against saving the U.S. auto industry, a significant majority of those polled – 61 percent – support the government’s action. This support was found to be strong across the country, not just in the Midwest.

“This survey leaves little doubt that voters understand that U.S. manufacturing is the nation’s most powerful engine of job growth and that they want more urgent action taken to address trade violations and halt outsourcing that is sapping our global standing and future security,” said Paul. “Voters across the political spectrum do not believe that any of our national leaders are doing a great deal to boost manufacturing or to stop outsourcing. Candidates would be well advised to heed this message.”