Salena Zito

All five lawmakers -- Casey, Altmire, Kelly, Murphy and Critz -- said their constituents want Washington to take action on jobs, based on phone calls to their offices and comments they hear when meeting with voters in their districts.

Voters in Pennsylvania want to see manufacturing and energy production through coal and Marcellus shale gas become central parts of any economic renewal, not only in the Keystone State but across the country.

Murphy thinks Pennsylvanians have a remarkable work ethic, and he wants them to have opportunities to use it.

In June, the nation's unemployment rate rose for a third straight month, as employers added only 18,000 workers and corporate earnings languished.

Anyone buying basic groceries can feel the pinch of consumer prices rising to offset higher commodity costs, so buying little beyond what you absolutely need has become the norm.

President Barack Obama's support has eroded among the very independent voters who helped him sweep into office. That drop-off is based on his inability to lead on numerous issues, but most importantly on the economy.

The latest Pew Research poll confirms just that: Only 8 percent of those polled say the national economy is in excellent or good shape, and only 38 percent rate their personal finances positively.

Such attitudes place Obama in an even worse position than President George H.W. Bush was in during his failed 1991-92 re-election campaign, because today's unemployment rate is much higher and overall satisfaction with the state of the nation is much lower than it was back then.

Polls are no substitute for understanding basic human judgment. Yet they can mark that point in time when an administration fell off the cliff of understanding its own people.

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.