* Even Republicans say jobs outweigh spending cuts
* Growing number -- 79 percent -- say U.S. in recession
By Daniel Trotta
NEW YORK, July 22 American voters
overwhelmingly say lowering unemployment is more important than
reducing the federal budget deficit, according to a Quinnipiac
University poll released on Thursday.
The poll, conducted July 13-19, showed that 64 percent of
respondents thought reducing the jobless rate should be a
bigger priority versus 30 percent who favored focusing on
cutting the budget deficit.
A majority of Republicans -- 58 percent to 38 percent --
also said reducing unemployment was more important, the poll
said. Republicans have accused President Barack Obama's
administration of expanding the deficit through overspending.
The federal budget deficit for 2010 is expected to be about
$1.4 trillion. The U.S. unemployment rate was 9.5 percent in
The poll came amid a debate between those who favor more
stimulus spending to boost the sluggish U.S. economy and fiscal
conservatives who plan to make deficit reduction a rallying cry
in November's midterm congressional elections.
But 49 percent of voters said Obama was irresponsible for
spending too much, with 45 percent disagreeing, while 53
percent said government was doing too much better left to
businesses and individuals, with 39 percent disagreeing.
Seventy-nine percent believed the United States was still
in a recession, up from 74 percent in May, and 52 percent said
the economy was not beginning to recover. Twenty-three percent
said the economy was getting better, 31 percent said it was
getting worse and 44 percent saw no change.
"The public seems to be reassessing the view held through
the winter and spring, when they thought economic conditions
were lousy but could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now they aren't seeing that light," Peter A. Brown, assistant
director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said
in a statement.
While 41 percent of those surveyed said they trusted Obama
to handle the economy, 42 percent trusted congressional
Republicans more. Independent voters, who were important to
Obama's 2008 election, favored congressional Republicans 42
percent to 35 percent.
Voters disapproved of the way Obama was handling the
economy by 56 percent to 39 percent. Among independents, 61
percent disapproved compared to 34 percent who approved.
But more people still blamed former President George W.
Bush for the current economic conditions -- 53 percent versus
25 percent who blamed Obama.
"Wall Street may be debating whether the country is at risk
of a double-dip recession, but Main Street thinks the original
one never ended. So far, voters blame Bush more than Obama,
but it's not clear how long that view will last," Brown said.
The poll surveyed 2,181 registered voters nationwide and
had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.
(Editing by Paul Simao)