Fiscal Issues Most Worry Americans

March 22, 2011

gallup-natl-concerns-mar-2011.JPGSeven in 10 Americans (71%) say they worry about the economy “a great deal,” more than worry about 13 other issues measured in a March 2011 Gallup poll. In addition, nearly two in three (64%) worry a great deal about federal spending and the budget deficit.

Healthcare, Unemployment Also Top Worries

The top five issues worrying Americans are all financial. The third- and fourth-most worrisome issues for Americans are healthcare costs (58%) and unemployment (57%), followed by the Social Security system (51%). It is also interesting that only financial issues were rated as causing a “great deal” of worry by more than 50% of respondents. The sixth-highest-ranked issue, the size and power of the federal government, only greatly worries 48% of Americans.

Race Relations Least Worrisome by Large Margin

Race relations, historically a major social issue in the US, only worries 16% of respondents a great deal, making it the lowest-ranked issue by a substantial margin. The next-lowest-ranked issue, quality of the environment, greatly worries more than twice as many Americans (34%).

Energy Affordability More Worrisome Since ’10

gallup-energy-cost-mar-20111.JPGOnly one issue, energy affordability, is ranked as causing a great deal of worry by a substantially larger percentage of respondents this year (46%) than in 2010 (38%), growing 21%. The current level of concern about this is similar to what it was from 2006 to 2008. The lowest level energy affordability has hit as an issue causing a great deal of worry is 27%, reached in 2003.

Partisans Share Economic Concerns, Differ on Deficit and Healthcare

gallup-concern-party-mar-20111.JPGThe economy and unemployment are top-ranking concerns for Republicans, independents, and Democrats. Additionally, majorities of Republicans and Democrats are highly worried about Social Security.

Beyond these areas of common concern, however, the parties diverge. Large majorities of Republicans say they worry a great deal about federal spending (79%) and the size and power of government (62%), and 55% worry a great deal about immigration. All of these issues are absent from Democrats’ top concerns. In contrast, Democrats’ top-ranking issue, healthcare, is not a great concern to most Republicans.

Among the four issues of concern to a majority of independents, the economy and unemployment are issues they have in common with both major parties, while federal spending is primarily a Republican concern and healthcare, a Democratic one.

US Economic Optimism Declines in Feb.

Americans’ optimism about the US economy receded from a three-year high reached in January 2011 during February 2011, according to recent Gallup Economic Index data. In February 2011, the Index worsened from -21 to -24.

About the Data: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 3-6, 2011, with a random sample of 1,021 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental US, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

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