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Economic Issues Most Important Problems Facing the Country: Poll

Dissatisfaction with dysfunctional government and gridlock on the rise

| BY Donald Liebenson

Economic issues are trumping environmental issues as the most important problems facing the country today, and 25 years from now, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

A majority (57 percent) of Americans mention an economic issue when asked to name the most important problem currently facing the country, the lowest since June 2010, when the percentage was also 57 percent, Gallup reports. The last time it below below this level was in December 2009, when the reading was 55 percent.

Results for this poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 7-10 with a random sample of 1,022 American adults ages 18 and older. Since 1939, Gallup has asked Americans to name, in an open-ended question format, the most important problem facing the United States. The polling organization has done so monthly since March 2001.

As part of its monthly update on the “most important problem” question, Gallup has compiled the percentage of Americans who specifically mention an economic issue, such as unemployment or the budget deficit. The highest percentage referencing economic issues was 86 percent in February 2009 in the midst of newly-elected President Obama’s economic stimulus initiatives. The lowest was 16 percent in December 2006, when the Iraq war ranked as the most important problem facing the country.

Regarding specific issues, 24 percent of respondents named the economy in general as the country’s most important problem at present, down from 25 percent in Februrary, but up from 21 percent in January. Sixteen percent, down from 19 percent last month, cited unemployment, while thirteen percent, unchanged from February, said the budget deficit.

More Americans think government dysfunction and gridlock to be the country’s most important problem. Twenty percent responded as such in March, up from 16 percent in February.

A wide array of issues were cited by less than 10 percent of respondents, including healthcare (7 percent), Immigration (5 percent) and gun control (4 percent).

Looking ahead 25 years, 13 percent of respondents expect the federal deficit to the most important problem facing the country, followed by the economy in general (12 percent) and the environment (8 percent).

As recently as 2008, the environment was forecast to be the most important problem facing the country in a quarter century. Interestingly, in 2000, social issues, including the environment, ethical/moral/family decline, education, overpopulation and crime, were cited as the most important problems the country will face.

About the Author

Donald Liebenson

Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.  

A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.