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The jobs performed by the country’s truckers helped to ensure the viability of an economy hit hard by the pandemic, according to recent research pollster Neil Newhouse unveiled Oct. 26.
Newhouse announced his findings during American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition. In informing the virtual audience, Newhouse highlighted that both voters and ATA members who were surveyed expressed positive perceptions of the trucking industry, with 35% of people affirming a very favorable impression of the industry.
The poll numbers aligned with those from previous years. In noting the integral role truckers have had, Newhouse observed, “These are strong numbers, but again, they’re pretty much consistent with what we’ve seen in the past — just a little bit higher.” Newhouse’s firm, Public Opinion Strategies, is based in Alexandria, Va.
By transporting medical supplies, food and goods to supermarkets, construction equipment, and e-commerce products to homes, commercial drivers’ essential role during the pandemic became apparent to respondents.
“Voters understand the critical role the industry plays in the economy. They describe the truckers as the backbone of America, unsung heroes, commerce movers that are responsible for hauling almost every purchasable item in the country,” Newhouse told the MCE audience. “They’ve seen truckers as risking their lives to keep up with the country’s demand.”
He continued, “They’re acutely aware of the many sacrifices that have been made to keep the economy and society moving.”
In quoting several respondents, Newhouse said the feedback included, “America moves by truck,” “Our country would shut down without them,” and, “This country needs truck drivers.”
Commercial drivers have earned recognition from the highest levels of government during the pandemic. The most visible example of that took place at the White House in April when President Donald Trump welcomed truckers and called the industry’s drivers the country’s heroes. The sentiment was echoed by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
“America’s 3.5 million truck drivers are helping support Americans and the economy with their dedication and skill. They are true heroes,” Chao said April 16.
Newhouse’s findings also showed strong support for federal investments in transportation infrastructure, with ATA members indicating they were receptive to taxes and fees that would fund connectivity improvements. Advancing a comprehensive infrastructure package would be seen by the voters, as well as the industry, as a significant achievement that would pave the way for better highways. Congress did not advance a major package this year.
Many ATA members also shared a favorable view of Trump’s role in managing the economy. The incumbent president, seeking another term, was perceived as a strong leader qualified to lead an economic recovery.
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