WASHINGTON, D.C. — The government and immigration continue to stand apart from other issues when Americans are asked to name the most important problem facing the U.S. These two issues, mentioned in an April 1-9 poll by 23% and 21% of U.S. adults, respectively, are the only ones cited by more than one in 10 Americans, as they have been for all but one of the past 13 months.
The lone exception since April 2018 in double-digit mentions outside of government and immigration occurred last November, when 11% of Americans named healthcare at the same time that 18% mentioned government and 21% immigration.
Today, healthcare ranks a more distant third at 7%, followed by race relations or racism at 6%. Three issues — the economy, poverty and unifying the country — tie for fifth, all mentioned by 5%.
Another nine issues are mentioned by at least 2% of Americans, including the environment/pollution/climate change at 3%, unemployment at 2%, and the gap between rich and poor at 2%. The full list of responses is provided through a link at the end of this article.
Immigration Has Become a Steady Concern
Immigration is currently near the high point of its historical mentions in Gallup’s trend — the peak was 22% recorded last July, when separation of migrant families at the Southern U.S. border was making news. Mentions of immigration had started exceeding 10% routinely a few months earlier, in February 2018, but have averaged 17% since last August. By contrast, from 2001 through 2017, immigration mentions averaged about 5%.
At 23%, current mentions of government are down slightly from the 35% high markrecorded this past February, measured shortly after the conclusion of the longest government shutdown on record. Mentions of government have averaged 22% since President Donald Trump took office, versus 12% during the 12 months before that. Longer term, government has routinely been cited by more than 10% of Americans as the leading problem since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, including a surge to 33% during a government shutdown in 2013.
By Lydia Saad for GALLUP
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