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Economy and jobs are top election issue

Nearly 80 percent of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say the issue of the economy and jobs is very important to them in deciding whom to support in the upcoming race for the White House.

Fifty-eight percent named the nation’s debt and deficits, followed closely by 56 percent each for ethics in government and health care. With 53 percent, taxes rounded out the top five issues.

Although the first primaries in the 2016 presidential contest are still more than six months away, 13 Republicans have announced their candidacies—on Wednesday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal joined the list of GOP contenders—and four Democrats have entered the race for their party’s nomination.

In recent polls, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have received the strongest support among Republicans, while Hillary Clinton is the front runner among Democrats. But many political observers think the race for the nomination in both parties could be up for grabs.

The economy and jobs also were cited as the No. 1 issue in RBJ Daily Report Snap Polls conducted in January 2012 and September 2008 before those presidential elections.

Nearly 700 readers participated in this week’s poll, conducted June 22 and 23.

In deciding which presidential candidate to vote for in the 2016 election, which issues are very important to you? (Respondents selected all that applied.)
Economy and jobs: 79%
Debt and deficits: 58%
Ethics in government : 56%
Health care: 56%
Taxes: 53%
Foreign policy: 52%
National defense: 47%
Immigration: 46%
Terrorism: 45%
Social Security and Medicare: 45%
Personal character of candidates: 40%
Education: 36%
Income inequality and poverty: 32%
Financial system reform: 31%
Global warming and other environmental issues: 30%
Experience of candidates: 26%
Race relations: 24%
Social issues such as abortion, gay marriage : 20%
Other: 7%

COMMENTS:

Bush or Clinton again? Doesn’t feel like a real choice.
—Tom Gillett, NYSUT

Someone who can think on their feet, can bring both parties closer to the center, clearly articulate their vision and strategies for the country. Someone who can stand up to Russia, someone who can help guide the Middle East to resolve their own problems without increasing U.S. military involvement. Important, as well, is dealing with complex domestic issues such as improving infrastructure, failing cities and the decline of U.S. manufacturing. We need someone who can hold two or three thoughts in their head at the same time. Someone who is compassionate and a leader. I want someone who can bring the nation together and focus on our problems and our citizens.
—Frank Orienter, Rochester

More important than any single issue is the ability of the chief executive to lead (cause to occur) consensus among the disparate factions within in our legislative chambers. From this, the president will enable Americans to take pride in their country and the effectiveness of its government structure.
—Dorver Kendid, Webster

One could easily say all of the issues you list are very important, as well as others such as effective campaign and election reform, eliminating the extremely harmful influence of money, PACs, and lobbying from government, and the overturn of the very destructive Citizens United decision.
—David Lamb

The defining issue of our time is income inequality; it is at the root of almost every other issue. The money that is given to—and stays at—the top is money that cannot be funneled into global concerns, social programs, safety nets, job creation, education, health care and immigration. It leads to corruption, with the people at the top setting policy that further enriches themselves at the expense of others. The next president’s primary responsibility is to begin to reverse this course.
—Bill Kenny

I believe all the issues listed are very important. However, if we don’t have a planet we can live on, the rest are irrelevant. Therefore, global warming is in a category by itself, with the highest priority.
—David Rubin

I believe the character of the candidates is important, and I also believe it is time any candidate tells us the truth about our country’s situation. Tax reform should be addressed and what programs can be offered that can create decent jobs. Income inequality is a social issue—if you have limited education or skills, you can’t expect to be paid top dollar for a job that requires minimum skills. Poverty is not going away; someone will always be poor. What is needed is to ensure our safety nets are adequate for those people.
—D. Hoffman

We need to get rid of professional politicians who are only interested in trying to get more votes for their party at the expense of the United States. We need people willing and able to make decisions that may be hard in the short run but are visionary in their long-term effect. The U.S. is a joke in the international community. We need to get back to honor, strength and glory. A shield and a club to protect liberty. The destruction of every great civilization has come from decay from within. Our current politicians will weaken the very fiber of this great country! We must be eliminate the decay and weakness from our “leadership.”
—Mark Williams

Throw out the bums!
—Devin Michaels, Chili

The United States government is out of control. Only when we get back to the basic principles of freedom with responsibility, including limited government, will this nation survive.
—Jim Weisbeck, Bloomfield

No. 1: Not believing that Muslims want to take over our country.
—John Sackett

For more comments, go to rbjdaily.com.  To participate in the weekly RBJ Snap Poll, sign up for the Daily Report at staging.rbj.net/dailyreport.

6/26/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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