Economy, deficit top voter issues ahead of Obama speech: poll

WASHINGTON Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:51am EST

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Washington February 8, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at Joint Base Myer-Henderson in Washington February 8, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans are eager to hear President Barack Obama address the U.S. economy and federal deficit in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, with more than half still convinced the nation is in a recession, a poll released on Monday found.

Gun policy and healthcare are also top concerns U.S. voters want the president to discuss in his annual speech to the nation, according to the survey by Quinnipiac University.

Obama, who began his second term last month after winning re-election in November, is expected to use Tuesday night's speech to offer his plan for spurring the tepid economy, including proposals for investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy and education.

The nationwide poll found 35 percent of U.S. voters said the economy was a top concern, while 20 percent pointed to the federal deficit. It also showed 53 percent said the U.S. economy is still in a recession even though economists have said the downturn that began in late 2007 officially ended in July 2009.

Fifteen percent said the nation's gun policies were a top priority and 12 percent said they were most concerned about healthcare, Quinnipiac found.

Its poll of 1,772 registered voters has a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.

Obama's speech comes as U.S. lawmakers grapple with the nation's $16 trillion debt and looming across-the-board government spending cuts slated to take effect on March 1.

"Voters trust President Obama more than congressional Republicans on the economy and most other issues, but they are more closely divided on who would do a better job on the deficit and on gun control," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said.

The finding showed 47 percent backed Obama to handle the economy compared to 41 percent who said they trusted congressional Republicans, while 48 percent said they had more trust in Republicans to cut federal spending compared to 39 who backed Obama.

Those polled were more closely split over whether Obama or Republicans could better handle immigration issues, Quinnipiac said.

Two-thirds of respondents said they were likely to watch the speech, with more women than men saying they would tune in, the poll also found.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (33)
morbas wrote:
In that the fiscal Cliff Resolution,
The top marginal tax rate on income of 39.6%.
The top marginal tax rate on long-term capital gains of 20%.
Higher Income taxes tax rate is regessive, a violation of Amendment 16:
“The higher the earnings, the higher the percentage collected from them.”

Fairness requires top earners pay more.
Simply put, the federal and state tax system needs to tax the money, not the people. Poverty/subsistence margin flat rate of taxation is fairness. The upper quintile views fair as the more you make the more you take home. This meets both criteria. The Washington bureaucrats missed a big opportunity to propose a margin flat rate tax that balances the budget. Rates $0-20K 0%, money above $20K 35%; couples freely share; all income bundled and taxed in summation form, no exemptions. And provide business relief with no business taxation with provisions on ‘partnership and disregarded’ businesses to transfer funds into personal accounts as the taxable income. Ends family business inheritance taxation, except when sold for personal profit (always taxable).

The above $20K margined 35% flat rate yields the federal $3.8T expendatures (includes single pay Health and Social Security) and is a progressive effective tax rate less than th efederal income tax rate up to $250k, and it is constitutional. This proposal would require a National Level of politics that reaches amendment level approval. This would require a national constituency letter writing outcry, that which has not been seen.

Honorable Obama, Congress and Senate, this is my opinion.

Feb 11, 2013 9:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
Marcuscassius wrote:
I’d like to see some discussion on restoring our rights! get rid of the Patriot act. Get rid of the corporation is a person garbage. (No one but the corporations and Republicans believe it anyway) Then deal with the economy and the deficit. Star by getting rid of anyone that blocks. (Hear me republicants?) Stop growth or budgets or relief or deficit reduction and your gonna get voted out. Gun rights? Who cares!?! We have 6 guns for every American. They aren’t going away. Talk about nationalizing petroleum and start dealing with the insurance companies! Rein in the lawyers. Streamline the courts and legalize drugs. This country might have a chance after that.

Feb 11, 2013 10:12am EST  --  Report as abuse
Bubba311 wrote:
So voters are concerned about jobs, the economy, and the deficit? Well, they had better get used to it. Policies resulting from this President’s underlying pro-big government, pro-big labor, anti-capitalism, anti-business ideology have made it prohibitively expensive for businesses to hire people. The President will offer us more class warfare rhetoric and populist platitudes. The private sector will hunker down and hope to survive the next four years.

Feb 11, 2013 10:18am EST  --  Report as abuse
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