Gallup just released its monthly measurement of the top U.S. problems for May, and unemployment/jobs is in the lead for the third time this year, at 20 percent. This is up from 14 percent in April. Government/politicians is close behind at 19 percent, maintaining a fairly steady trend since December. The economy in general is at 17 percent.
Self-identified Democrats’ attention on unemployment/jobs is responsible for the uptick, with 25 percent saying that it is the most important problem. Republicans are more worried about the economy in general, and Independents are slightly more focused on government/politicians than the other issues.
Meanwhile, health care has continued to fall as a top issue. Only 11 percent of Americans see it as the most important problem facing the nation. Last month it was at 15 percent, and it reached as high as 19 percent in November. But as the Obamacare media buzz begins to wane, it appears the public has begun shifting interest back to economic issues. That’s not to say Obamacare and health care are not economic concerns. Republicans and Independents are still significantly worried about health care, while Democrats are equally concerned about things like education, the gap between the rich and poor, and race relations.
In a separate poll of registered voters, Gallup measured how important each issue will be to Americans in the upcoming elections for Congress in 2014. For both Republicans and Democrats, the economy will be the most important issue for their vote. Republicans treat the federal budget deficit and taxes more importantly than Democrats, while the reverse is true for global warming, same-sex marriage, and income inequality.
When asked which party does a better job of dealing with the issues, the Republicans have a slight edge on the most important issue—the economy—with a +5 lead. They also hold leads on the federal budget deficit (+14), foreign affairs (+12), and taxes (+5). On the other hand, Democrats have major strengths in global warming (+24) and same-sex marriage (+22). Unfortunately for Democrats in this election cycle, these issues currently seem to be given the lowest overall importance by voters. However, Democrats also lead income inequality (+10) the ACA (+8), and immigration (+7).