Prior to the Olympic uniform outcry, the jobs issue on the home front was already top of mind for most. A poll of likely voters released Monday showed that creating jobs, specifically in manufacturing, and strengthening manufacturing in the U.S. are top economic priorities, according to the findings of the survey and focus groups conducted by the Alliance of American Manufacturing, a nonpartisan, nonprofit partnership of leading U.S. manufacturers and the United Steelworkers.

This story first appeared in the July 17, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

By a sizable margin, voters rate manufacturing as the industry “most important to the overall strength of the American economy” and support a national strategy to restore America’s global leadership in manufacturing.

A majority of voters, 56 percent, no longer see the U.S. as having the world’s strongest economy, and less than 25 percent think anyone in the federal government is doing much to help enforce a level playing field for U.S. manufacturers. However, 88 percent of voters believe that it’s possible for America to have the strongest economy, and 92 percent believe that it is important for the U.S. to regain that position.

“It’s striking how clearly voters — Republican and Democrat alike — see strengthening manufacturing as the key to rebuilding the U.S. economy,” said Scott Paul, AAM executive director.

When it comes to trade with China, more than two-thirds of respondents said the country’s alleged violations of international trade rules were costing the U.S. jobs, and 62 percent said Washington needs to get tougher on China’s actions.

Overwhelming majorities of independent, Republican and Democratic voters expressed strong support for “a national manufacturing strategy to make sure that economic, tax, education and trade policies in this country work together to help support manufacturing in the United States.” The bipartisan survey of 1,200 likely general election voters was conducted between June 28 and July 2 by the Mellman Group and North Star Opinion Research, firms that poll for Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively.

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