Polled Voters Say Increasing Exports Should be Top Priority in 2011

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), Milwaukee, Wis., released details of a nationwide poll about voter attitudes on the economy, manufacturing, and transportation infrastructure. The results are based on a survey conducted by Clarus Research Group, a nonpartisan survey research firm based in Washington, D.C. The survey was conducted for AEM by live telephone interviewers June 27-July 2, 2010. Sample size was 1,000 registered voters nationwide, and the poll’s margin of error was +/- 3.1 percent.

When asked how much of the $800 billion economic stimulus package was used to create jobs by rebuilding and improving highways, roads, and bridges, two in five voters incorrectly guessed 25 percent, and 53 percent of voters think worse of the stimulus package when they learn that only 3 percent of its funding was dedicated to rebuilding highways, roads and bridges.

“The findings in our national survey demonstrate strong majorities of voters believe putting money into infrastructure would make America a more desirable place to live and work, and would create a significant number of new jobs,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. 

According to 89 percent of respondents, “America needs to dramatically increase manufacturing jobs so our economy can keep pace with other countries,” and 83 percent of voters say it is very or critically important that equipment manufacturers are able to prosper and grow in the United States. Additionally, 66 percent of voters believe  that given current economic conditions, it’s a good time to build and repair America’s roads and bridges.

The survey also shows voters strongly believe that national policies are failing to keep manufacturing jobs in this country. American voters think that national policies are failing when it comes to expanding trade with other countries and keeping white collar jobs in the United States. 

According to the survey, 68 percent believe national policies to keep manufacturing jobs in this country are not working well, and 66% support making the implementation of the National Export Initiative a top national priority during the next year. In the survey, it was explained to voters that the Initiative “is designed to create more jobs in the United States by encouraging the sale of American-made products to other countries. The goal of the Initiative is to double our exports over the next fuve years by working to remove trade barriers abroad and by helping U.S. businesses enter new export markets.”

“Questions about national policies to keep manufacturing jobs in America and expand exports to other countries capture an important strain of economic discontent that is now running through the electorate,” said Ron Faucheux, President of Clarus Research, which conducted the AEM poll.

AEM’s poll results come on the heels of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that the Democratic Caucus is developing a plan titled “Making It In America” to increase manufacturing jobs.

“Eighty-nine percent of voters agree America needs to dramatically increase manufacturing jobs so our economy can keep pace with other countries,” Slater said.  “AEM welcomes efforts by Speaker Pelosi to increase manufacturing jobs, but we question how Congress can develop an effective plan without working with AEM and its member companies."