2011 AAM Bipartisan National Poll

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has released the results of a wide-ranging national poll that finds strong common ground among voters across the political spectrum about the nation’s economic crisis.  Americans are united on some key issues:

  • Voters want Washington to act on jobs, especially in manufacturing.
  • At the same time, voters give the President and Congress even worse marks than last year for taking any action at all on jobs and manufacturing.
  • Voters across the spectrum see manufacturing as central to the nation’s economic success.
  • Less than a third of Americans see the U.S. as the strongest economy in the world, but overwhelming majorities feel it is possible and important for the nation to regain that position.  
  • Though it may surprise pundits and media talking heads, Republican voters favor pro-manufacturing job solutions just as much as Democratic voters.

AAM’s bipartisan poll, conducted by The Mellman Group and Ayres, McHenry & Associates, highlights anxiety among a broad cross-section of voters about the economy, jobs, and the importance of revitalizing manufacturing in America.  Across the board, voters showed an even greater positive view of manufacturing and its role in the U.S. economy than in a 2010 AAM poll.

Key Findings:

Cutting Spending vs. Job Creation: The poll demonstrates that while voters are very concerned with our rising debt situation, they would prefer that their elected officials talk about plans to create jobs. In fact, when given an “either/or” choice, voters across the political spectrum overwhelmingly prefer to see Congress focus on job creation measures rather than on reducing the deficit.

Focus on Manufacturing: The poll takes a close look at the importance of boosting manufacturing for our economy, with intense support among all demographics. Voter support for American manufacturers, U.S.-made goods, the need to create more manufacturing jobs, and the need for Congress to focus on manufacturing have increased since the 2010 survey.

Legislative Options: The poll examines a number of specific legislative options to boost the economy and the manufacturing sector. The poll reveals that voters want their tax dollars to be spent in the U.S. and not given to overseas firms. Voters are far more willing to go “all in” for manufacturing than they were just a year ago. More attention must be given to China’s economic policies (such as currency manipulation), which voters believe threaten our world economic position.

U.S. World Position: Voters believe China has overtaken the U.S., and they want the #1 slot back. They also overwhelmingly believe that the next generation will be worse off than they are. However, with the right policies in place, voters believe America can get back on the right path to prosperity. Voters want to see America challenge China on economic issues in order to gain jobs.

Additional Data:

  • When given an “either/or” choice, just 29% want Washington to focus on deficit reduction while 67% favor job creation.
  • Less than a third (32%) believe the U.S. is the world’s strongest economy, with the plurality (39%) saying it is China.  Yet, 88% believe it is possible for the U.S. to have the strongest economy in the world and 95% feel that it is either very or somewhat important.
  •  “Creating manufacturing jobs in the U.S.” and “strengthening manufacturing in this country” are the top voter priorities for the President.
  • Only 50% of voters believe that the President is working to create manufacturing jobs – an 11% drop from 2010. Congress fares even worse – 41% say Democrats in Congress are working to create jobs, and 32% see the GOP working to create jobs.
  • 90% have a favorable view of American manufacturing companies – up 22% from 2010.
  • 97% have a favorable view of U.S.-made goods – up 5% from 2010.
  • 32% identified manufacturing as the “most important” sector for our economic strength – surpassing all other sectors by a wide margin. 54% identified it in their “top two.”
  • 62% say that that manufacturing is a “critical part of the American economy” and reject the view that high-tech and services will replace it.72% have an unfavorable view of goods made in China and 83% have an unfavorable view of companies that go to China to manufacture.
  • 86% favor a national manufacturing strategy “to make sure that economic, tax, labor and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing…” – up 8% from 2010.
  • 87% see a role for government in supporting manufacturing – 49% say “whatever is necessary” and another 38% for limited role of “incentives, and trade policy.”
  • 94% support a tax benefit for companies that conduct R&D in the U.S. and make their new products here.
  • 91% support increasing investment in “retraining and education programs to ensure workers gain the tools they need to compete in modern, high-tech factories – up 4% from 2010. 
  • 90% support Buy American policies “to ensure that taxpayer funded government projects use only U.S.-made goods and supplies wherever possible.”
  • 90% support tax incentives for companies that “invest in new equipment and plants for manufacturing.”
  • 89% support investing “more in rebuilding and repairing bridges, roads, and other basic infrastructure.”
  • 95% favor keeping “America’s trade laws strong and strictly enforced to provide a level playing field for our workers and businesses.”
  • 59% say we need to “get tough with China and use every possible means to stop their unfair trade practices…” – only 34% say we need to “be careful…because they own such a significant portion of our debt.”

Download the poll toplines.

Download the poll presentation.

Watch a briefing on the poll results from Michael Bloomfield of the Mellman Group.

See what Americans are saying about manufacturing and the economy.

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