Gallup polls on jobs, the economy, and just how polarized America has become

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     Opponents of a natural gas pipeline proposed to run through the federally protected Pinelands in New Jersey unfurl a banner against it during a public hearing on the proposal in Pemberton, N.J. on Tuesday Jan. 24, 2017. Environmentalists fear the pipeline will damage the fragile forest, but business and labor groups say it will create jobs and increase energy reliability. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo)

    Opponents of a natural gas pipeline proposed to run through the federally protected Pinelands in New Jersey unfurl a banner against it during a public hearing on the proposal in Pemberton, N.J. on Tuesday Jan. 24, 2017. Environmentalists fear the pipeline will damage the fragile forest, but business and labor groups say it will create jobs and increase energy reliability. (Wayne Parry/AP Photo)

    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion.

    The numbers are in on Americans’ views of job creation. On a state-by-state basis in 2016 the rankings show some dramatic shifts.

    The states in which workers are most likely to report that their companies are hiring are Nevada, Utah, Michigan, Georgia, South Carolina, Minnesota, and Washington. The states in which workers are least likely to report that their companies are hiring are Wyoming (dead last by a significant margin), Alaska, West Virginia, Montana, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and North Dakota.

    Just a year or two ago, North Dakota was at the top of the list, along with the other oil producing states. Conversely, Michigan was in the doldrums… Now hiring is very positive.

    Our region is middling. Pennsylvania is 30th out of 50 states with 41 percent of Pennsylvania workers saying their company is hiring, and 12 percent saying their company is firing.  Delaware is 32nd and New Jersey is 34th on the list.

    Americans are more upbeat about their personal finances today than at any time in the past 10 years, with 49 percent saying they are financially better off than they were a year ago. This is up from the 44 percent who felt financially better off at the same time last year and from a low of 23 percent in 2009, more than a year into the Great Recession. Twenty-eight percent report they are financially worse off than a year ago, while 22 percent say their situation is the same.

    This week, 56 percent of Americans say the U.S. economy is getting better, 37 percent say it’s getting worse. Last year at this time, 34 percent said getting better, 62 percent said getting worse.

    A review of a large number of polls conducted by numerous organizations shows that a significant majority of Americans are opposed to the idea of building a wall between U.S. and Mexico.  Trump is clearly out of sync with public opinion on this initiative.

    To show you how polarized America has become, 13 percent of Republicans approved of Barack Obama across his eight years, by far the lowest opposite party approval in Gallup’s history.  For Bill Clinton, it was 27 percent approval from the opposite party, and for Ronald Reagan 31 percent.  

    Going back further, for Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, 49 percent of the opposite party approved of their job as president.

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