Which nation is the world's strongest economic power?
Nearly half of Americans in a recent poll believe China has surpassed America as the strongest economy in the world, and more than half blame the loss of manufacturing jobs and corporate outsourcing to foreign countries as major causes for the shift. Results from the seventh quarterly Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll also show that 70% of Americans would prefer that Republicans in the newly elected Congress compromise with President Obama and congressional Democrats in order to improve the economy.
The survey of 1,200 Americans 18 and older focused on how Americans view the country's workforce competitiveness compared to other nations, and whether the American manufacturing sector should be a key driver of job creation. Only 20% of those polled felt the United States has the strongest economy in the world, while 47% said China's economy was strongest. Further, 58% of respondents blame the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs on companies that shifted jobs overseas to reduce labor costs and increase profits, and 67% said that U.S. corporate outsourcing has played a major role in the recent high unemployment rate.
Those polled overwhelmingly want to see America's manufacturing sector revived, with 80% believing that manufacturing will be extremely or very important to U.S. economic growth over the next five to 10 years. And respondents want Washington to play a role in making sure that happens: 62% said it's important for the government to offer advanced manufacturing industries tax incentives and funding, even if it means more federal spending.
"The powerful anxiety crackling through this poll about the nation's precarious position in the global race for jobs and growth should be a signal to politicians in both parties that Americans are open to, and even eager for, bold ideas from business and government to strengthen our competitive position," said Ronald Brownstein, editorial director of National Journal Group, in a statement.
The poll also gave some insight into what Americans felt the top priorities of the new Congress should be: 28% said politicians should provide new spending on infrastructure, research and education to encourage job creation, 22% said the top priority should be new tax cuts, 19% said repealing or changing health care reform was most important, 13% wanted all the Bush era tax cuts extended, and 11% said addressing the federal deficit should be the top concern.