Pollsters: Obama risks losing independents as jobless rate climbs (VIDEO)
Two Republican pollsters say their data show that both Republican and independent voters are growing angrier about the stubbornly high jobless rate.
Washington — With the economy performing poorly according to new unemployment figures for June, President Obama runs the risk of facing angry voters next year – not just Republicans but independents as well.
That’s the view of two Republican pollsters who spoke Friday at a Monitor-sponsored breakfast for journalists. At the session, they reported on voter focus groups conducted in June and sponsored by Resurgent Republic, a Republican organization that says it tries to shape the debate over the proper role of government.
The government’s announcement Friday that the unemployment rate rose unexpectedly to 9.2 percent in June adds to politicians' focus on the issue of voter anger over a sour economy. The June jobless figure was the highest this year and reflected the fact that employers added only 18,000 jobs last month, the worst performance since May 2010.
John McLaughlin, CEO of his own polling firm, reported on conversations with strong Republicans and tea-party supporters in Virginia Beach, Va. These voters “are out there hurting, and you talk about silent majority,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “They are not just a silent majority any more, they are an angry silent majority waiting for the next election.”
Perhaps more troubling to the White House is the prospect of anger among independents. Republican pollster Ed Goeas, president of the Tarrance Group, conducted a focus group with independent voters in Philadelphia. “The independent voters, they were on [Obama's] side before. They are frustrated and very close to anger,” Mr. Goeas said. “What the administration is trying to do is not convince everyone that the economy is better. What they are trying to do is pull them back from that break of being angry. Because once they cross that break they never come back.”