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Poll: Americans say no one has good jobs plan


CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Most Americans believe that neither President Obama nor Republicans in Congress have a clear plan for creating jobs, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll.

According to the survey, only 38 percent of Americans believe Mr. Obama has a concrete jobs plan - despite his recent cross-country tour touting the $445 billion American Jobs Act, which Congress rejected earlier this month.

Even fewer Americans - only 20 percent - believe Republicans in Congress have a clear plan for creating jobs.

Overall, 56 percent say Mr. Obama lacks a strong jobs plan, and 71 percent say the same of congressional Republicans.

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Moreover, few have faith in Congress' ability to reach an agreement on a jobs plan. Only 28 percent of Americans say they are confident that Republicans and Democrats in Congress will agree on a jobs package, while 73 percent say they are not confident.

Despite their apparent ambivalence about the president's overall jobs package, Americans do support many of Mr. Obama's individual proposals to create jobs. Eight in ten say they would approve of government spending on infrastructure as a path to job creation, and 65 percent say they would support spending money to hire teachers, cops, and firefighters. A majority - 53 percent - say they would support government spending directed toward the hiring of public employees in general.

Americans across the board agree on infrastructure spending. Republicans, however, are more likely than Democrats and independents to object to government spending on public employees.

Americans largely support the idea of giving tax cuts to small businesses. Seventy-eight percent say they approve of implementing a small business tax cut to create jobs, while 51 percent say a payroll tax cut is a good idea. Fifty percent approve of easing business regulations.

Sixty-five percent of Americans say they'd support a tax increase on million-dollar-plus households if it meant lowering the budget deficit. Republicans, however, are less supportive of that idea than independents and Democrats: Only 38 percent of Republicans say households earning $1 million or more should have their taxes raised, while 80 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents say the same.

Meanwhile, just 27 percent of Americans overall say cutting corporate taxes is a good way to create jobs.

Two in three Americans say they believe Republicans in Congress favor the rich. Nine percent say they favor the middle class, while 2 percent say they favor the poor. Fifteen percent say Republicans in Congress treat all classes equally.

Twenty-eight percent say the Obama administration favors the rich. Twenty-three percent say the administration favors the middle class, 17 percent say it favors the poor, and 21 percent say it treats all Americans equally.

The survey found that most Americans consider themselves to be middle- or working-class, and those who call themselves lower class tend to think the Obama administration favors the rich. Americans of all classes say Republicans favor the rich.

Congressional approval ratings, meanwhile, are at an all-time low. Only 9 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, and just one in 10 Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right all or most of the time. Eighty-nine percent - a record high - say they trust government only some of the time or never.

Mr. Obama's overall job rating remains below 50 percent, with 46 percent of Americans approving of his performance and 46 percent disapproving.

The president's marks on foreign policy are higher: Sixty percent approve of his handling of the war in Iraq, and 50 percent approve of his foreign policy in general.

More than half of those surveyed point to the economy and jobs as the most important problems facing the country. Only 14 percent think the economy is in good shape, and 36 percent think it's getting worse. Just 38 percent approve of the president's handling of the economy, and 35 percent approve of his record on job creation.

Overall, just one in five Americans think the country is headed in the right direction; 74 percent think it is on the wrong track.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,650 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone October 19-24, 2011. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher. An oversample was conducted for this survey which will be analyzed in a future poll release. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
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