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Poll: Majority support for extending jobless benefits

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Thursday, January 9, 2014 - 9:00am

As a push to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed faces an uncertain future in Congress, a new national poll indicates majority support for a three-month extension.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey, 58% of registered voters nationwide say they favor a three-month extension of the benefits for people currently out of work.

The poll, which was released Wednesday, indicates a partisan divide, with overwhelming support from Democrats (83%-13%), majority backing from independents (54%-41%), and opposition from Republicans by a 54%-42% margin.

Thanks to support from six Republican lawmakers, the legislation passed an initial procedural hurdle in the Senate on Tuesday, but some of those Republicans say they will pull their support unless Democrats come up with a way to pay for the $6.4 billion bill.

The White House and congressional Democrats say the legislation is a top priority, but Republicans accuse them of sabotaging their own bill - by refusing to come up with a compromise offset - in order to have a political issue they could use to attack Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections.

So how might the issue, which is increasingly in the national spotlight, affect November's midterm elections, when the entire House of Representatives and more than a third of the Senate are up for grabs?

"If a candidate for Congress supports extending jobless benefits, 33 percent are more likely to vote for that candidate, with 24 percent less likely and 40 percent who say it won't affect their vote," says a release from Quinnipiac University.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted January 4-7, with 1,487 registered voters nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

 

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN Senior Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

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