Immigration and the economy are also-rans in a new Gallup poll on the problems facing America, which identifies the government and its politicians as the No. 1 concern.
The government and the economy have been at the top of the list since the beginning of the year, while immigration rose sharply in July in response to the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the poll of 1,032 adults conducted Aug. 7-10 with a a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Eighteen percent of the respondents said the “Government/Politicians” is the “most important” U.S. problem. Fifteen percent said immigration and 14 percent the economy.
Twelve percent said jobs or unemployment, 9 percent said health care and 7 percent said foreign policy.
“Many more Americans now mention a non-economic issue – such as dissatisfaction with government, immigration, or ethical and moral decline – than an economic one as the top problem,” the Gallup report said.
“This reverses the situation found during much of the recession and its aftermath, when more Americans listed economic issues. The renewed focus on non-economic issues was first evident in May 2013, and the gap between economic and non-economic mentions has now widened to 33 points, with 71 percent of Americans mentioning non-economic issues and 38 percent citing economic issues.”
On immigration, Barack Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to spend on his projects, which Republicans in Congress have rejected.
The GOP-led U.S. House passed two immigration bills, but they likely are dead in the water in the Democrat-dominated Senate.
“Americans have shifted their focus more to non-economic issues as the most important U.S. problem since May 2013. That trend continues this month. Economic issues more frequently received the most mentions from 2008 through 2013, when the U.S. economy was suffering and unemployment was relatively high. However, now that the economy appears to be recovering, as evidenced by positive signals such as a six-year high in Gallup’s Job Creation Index and increased consumer spending, non-economic issues such as government and immigration have become greater concerns to Americans,” the report said.
“With the midterm congressional elections approaching, candidates would be wise to pay attention to these shifting priorities. In particular, Congress’ lack of action on immigration could become a major issue in the fall campaign. Of course, it is challenging for the two parties to come to agreement during an intense political season, so it is not clear that Congress will address the issue even if its inaction puts some of its members’ jobs in jeopardy,” the report said.
Under the headline, “Government is Public Enemy No. 1, outraged Americans say,” the Washington Times said the fear of immigration issues, economic problems and even the crisis in the Middle East all are trumped by worries over what Washington is doing.
See a chart regarding the top three concerns: