New Poll Suggests People Are Pretty Satisfied With Work

There’s a new NPR/Marist poll out today titled “Picture of Work in the United States.” It’s got a zillion questions about various aspects of work that I mostly didn’t find especially enlightening,¹ but there was one question that caught my eye. They asked respondents whether they feel their employer values their work. Here are the results for various demographic pairs:

This is just one small data point and I don’t want to make too much of it. That said, feeling valued is a strong component of job satisfaction and therefore of satisfaction with the economy in general. As you can see, it approaches 90 percent for nearly everyone. In particular, Trump voters don’t feel any less valued than anyone else. Neither do millennials or men or conservatives. In fact, the only groups that feel substantially less valued than average are the poor and working class (income < $50,000) and nonwhites. But both of those are generally Democratic constituencies, not Trump supporters. Even among the white working class, 89 percent say they feel valued at work, right in line with the average.

By itself, this poll question doesn’t mean too much. But if you combine it with other survey results about job satisfaction, personal financial stress, and so forth, it’s one more small bit of evidence that economic anxiety is neither widespread nor a strong motivating factor for Trump voters.

¹It’s not that the questions themselves were uninteresting. The problem is that a big pile of one-time data doesn’t tell us very much about the changing workplace. What we really want to know is how things have evolved over time, and this poll just doesn’t do that. This is true of the “value your work” question too, but comparing different demographic groups does tell us something about a political question.


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