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Friday, January 18, 2019

Poll: House Republicans Face Political Risk For Not Extending Unemployment Benefits

Poll: House Republicans Face Political Risk For Not Extending Unemployment Benefits

With temporary federal benefits for long-term unemployed Americans set to expire on December 28, a new Public Policy Polling poll finds that bipartisan majorities in Republican-controlled swing districts overwhelmingly support an extension of the program – something the GOP opposes and refused to include in the newest budget deal.

The PPP poll, released on Monday, shows that some vulnerable Republican congressmemembers risk losing support from voters over their stance on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

In each of the districts – California’s 31st, Colorado’s 6th, Michigan’s 1st, Illinois’ 13th, and Ohio’s 8th – voters said they were less likely to re-elect the incumbent if their representative refused to extend the program.

Republican congressman Gary Miller represents the district with the greatest bipartisan support for an extension of unemployment benefits: 68 percent of voters say they want the benefits continued as opposed to 28 percent who do not. More notably, Republicans voiced support for an extension by 54 percent to 41 percent.

Similarly, in the districts represented by Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), majorities of voters support extending the program, 66 percent to 29 percent. In Michigan’s 1st district, 60 percent of Republicans say the benefits should be extended past the new year, and in Illinois’ 13th district, 53 percent say the same.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says the progress showed in November’s job report should “discourage calls for more government ‘stimulus’,” but the voters in his district disagree — 63 percent want the program extended, while 34 percent do not. A majority of Republicans – 52 percent – also support an extension.

The only district in which a majority of Republicans did not voice support for an extension was Colorado’s 6th district, currently held by Mike Coffman (R). Still, 63 percent of voters say they want to see the program extended, and a plurality of Republicans – 48 percent – say the same.

With the poll also showing low approval ratings for the Republican lawmakers – Miller with 29 percent, Coffman with 42 percent, Davis with 33 percent, Benishek with 41 percent, and Boehner with 40 percent – there’s a chance that “voting to cut off benefits for unemployed people struggling to find work would make their existing problems worse,” as PPP director Tom Jensen said in a release accompanying the poll.

Still, it’s also possible that the issue will not be as politically salient in 2014. By then, voters may have prioritized other issues besides the extension of unemployment benefits — which is in the news now, with the passing of the budget deal and a looming expiration date.

Jeremy Funk of Americans United for Change, which funded the PPP poll, argues that Republicans should do what is “not just in America’s economic interest” but in “their own political interest.”

Americans United for Change also points out that congressional Democrats have been alone in their fight for extending the emergency unemployment benefits. A week ago, the liberal group posted a video highlighting the battle that Democrats can use to their advantage. You can watch the video below:

Video: Americans United via YouTube

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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10 responses to “Poll: House Republicans Face Political Risk For Not Extending Unemployment Benefits”

  1. Duckbudder says:

    Quite the problem: Pissoff the votes you need, or pissoff the money you want.

  2. Dominick Vila says:

    I wish all my cyber friends a Merry Christmas.

    Trying to balance the budget on the backs of people who have lost their jobs, more often than not for reasons out of their control, is despicable. The GOP must make an effort to understand the difference between unemployment benefits and welfare. The former is usually temporary and the result of economic crises, the latter is often long term and caused by a multitude of circumstance that deserve careful analysis before judgment is passed.

  3. Budjob says:

    As far as I’m concerned,EVERY GOD DAMN member of Congress should be made to take a 50% cut in pay and benefits!!!

  4. Bill Thompson says:

    Make no mistake this deal was a bipartisan deal and the Republicans will be able to turn this around in a heartbeat and blame the Democrats. Our Democratic leaders will stand by and allow their crotches to get kicked in once again and say nothing. The republican spin will will be so great it will look like a hurricane. The Democrats need to start pounding away on this issue now. Remember the greatest defense is an aggressive offense.

    • elw says:

      Maybe, maybe not. I expect 2014 to be a very nasty fight. I agree that Republicans will spend great deals of money on attack ads, but I also believe that they have lost credibility with many more of their base and that Dems are pretty fed up. Personally, I hope that the Democrats do not wait to be attack but go in swinging with reminders of the laziest Congress in history – but also think that in any regard the Republicans are losing the battle. They have steadily been behind in polls without stop for many years and their percentages keep getting worse.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      I agree. The Democratic party has allowed the GOP to control the agenda and public opinion with impunity. Instead of highlighting the positive results of our foreign and domestic policies, we continue to rely on the ability of mainstream Americans to determine the truth, at a time when it is evident that a well crafted political commercial and outrageous statements by the likes of Limbaugh, Coulter, Beck and others are destroying the credibility of President Obama.
      The next phase of the GOP strategy is to take credit for the things they opposed and claim that the economic recovery and job growth that ought to be evident to everyone was achieved thanks to their policies. The same goes for foreign policy, they will take credit for our decision to withdraw from Iraq, our limited presence in Afghanistan, the abandonment of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, the killing of OBL and Qadaffi, and just about everything Obama has done, and their flock will believe it without question.

  5. Nathaniel says:

    Somewhere along the line, we have to come to the conclusion that this is all some weird game w/republicans and they don’t care about the welfare of either the unemployed or the underemployed. Understood… This is an election year and too early in the game to predict things like paying prices at the (voting) polls. They (republicans) always do their worse in this early period. But by summer, they are holy-er than thou, as they know voters have forgotten all about this… and so, republicans can ably blame democrats for everything gone wrong since civilization – and get away w/it. Meanwhile, families, homes, cars, credit, all are lost. These polls mean nothing in other words. So what’s the point & why are people so freaked out & swear by them?

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