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Whoever Won Debate, It's Jobs Driving the Votes

NEW YORK ( BankingMyWay) -- While most pundits gave the clear edge to ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama in last night's first presidential debate, U.S. workers may be taking a little longer to make up their minds on who's the best fit for the presidency.

According to a study of more than 5,600 Americans from Beyond.com, a King of Prussia, Pa., career services network, the biggest driver in support for a given candidate is, not surprisingly, dependent on whether you have a job.

While 62% of U.S adults surveyed say they are "optimistic" about job prospects, Obama leads among already-employed Americans (by 50% to 43%), while Romney has the backing by out-of-work or underemployed Americans (by 50% to 44%). Romney also has the support of more Americans who say he will bring "better employee prospects" for them if he's elected (by 46% to 41%).

That said, the real X factor is what businesses think about the occupant of the Oval Office come January, Beyond.com reports.

"Our survey confirms that the hiring picture in one's own backyard is going to be a determinant of how people will feel when they visit the polls," says Rich Milgram, founder and CEO of Beyond.com. "While job-seekers are hopeful, businesses are more tentative, taking a wait-and-see approach to hiring. With new policies potentially on the horizon, the post-election environment will have a significant impact on the number of immediate opportunities available to the U.S. workforce."

The survey notes that the U.S. jobless rate rose across five of 10 so-called "battleground states" in August, although the unemployment rate in six of those states is below the national average of 8.1%.

For what it's worth, economic analysts expect the jobless rate to rise to 8.2% when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics rolls out its latest round of employment numbers for September.

What additional views do Americans hold about jobs and the economy? Beyond.com has some conclusions there, as well:

  • 17% of survey respondents expect the jobs market to "gets worse before it gets better," but twice as many -- 35% -- say the employment market "will improve."
  • Few Americans believe the jobs problem can be fixed immediately, with 42% of respondents say fixing the jobs market will take "at least another year" and another 42% saying it will take "several years" to resolve.
  • What industries do Americans see as holding the best hand? The Beyond.com survey says the top three industries for jobs potential are: health care (35% of respondents); manufacturing (23% of respondents); and technology (22% of respondents).

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