For Voters, It’s Still the Economy
As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for their first debate on Oct. 3, the issues at the top of the voters’ agenda have changed little since 2008. Fully 87% of registered voters say that the economy will be very important to their vote, while 83% say jobs will be very important to their vote.
With Voters Focused on Economy, Obama Lead Narrows
As voters continue to focus on the economy and jobs as top issues, Barack Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney has narrowed from a 12-point advantage last month to a slim 49% to 45% advantage. Neither candidate has a clear advantage on on the economy or jobs issues, which more than eight-in-ten voters cited as “very important” to their choice.
Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping
As the State of the Union approaches, the economy continues to be the public’s top priority. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority.
No Consensus About Whether Nation Is Divided Into ’Haves’ and ’Have-Nots’
The public is divided on the question of whether the U.S. has become a society of economic ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,” with 52% saying it is incorrect to think of the country this way while 45% say such a division exists.
Economy, Jobs Top Public’s Policy Agenda
Americans overwhelmingly cite the economy and jobs as the most important issues facing the president and new Congress. On health care reform, roughly as many would like to see legislation expanded as have it repealed.
Public’s Wish List for Congress — Jobs and Deficit Reduction
Fully 80% say it is very important for Congress to pass legislation to address the job situation; nearly half of public disapproves of challenge to Arizona’s immigration law and health care legislation.
Public’s Priorities for Congress: Jobs and Energy Top Immigration
Congress’s ratings are abysmal; Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan draws mixed ratings but half have no opinion.
The Public’s Political Agenda
Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation continue to top nation’s priority list. However, shifts have occurred on the priority give to two issues: energy (down) and the budget deficit (up). Extremely large partisan gaps exist on the importance of health care and global warming.
U.S. Seen as Less Important, China as More Powerful
A new survey of both the public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations finds an increasingly isolationist sentiment among Americans. The public also differs with CFR members on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, the threat posed by China and the use of torture.
Partisan Bickering Is Back, Says Public
Obama continues to inspire confidence on economic matters, as majorities believe his policies will both improve economic conditions (66%) and reduce the budget deficit over time (54%). There has been no improvement in the GOP’s image.