Almost 90 percent of Americans consider the economy to be “extremely” or “very” important to their vote next year, a significantly higher percentage than for any other issue
“It’s the economy, stupid,” Bill Clinton campaign strategist James Carvelle famously proclaimed in 1992 when asked what the No.1 campaign issue was in the presidential race. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Almost 90 percent of Americans state that the economy is the biggest 2016 election issue, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Eighty-six percent consider the economy “extremely” or “very” important to their vote next year, a significantly higher percentage than for any other issue, including:
- Healthcare policy (77 percent)
- Terrorism 74 percent)
- Income and wealth distribution (71 percent)
- Foreign affairs (61 percent)
- Immigration (59 percent)
- Race relations (55 percent)
Nearly eight-in-ten (77 percent) will consider “the way government operates in Washington” when they cast their vote, according to the survey.
Republicans and Democrats, Gallup found are in agreement that the economy is the most important issue facing the crop of presidential candidates, but there are partisan divides on the other issues. Republicans are more focused on the political environment, immigration and terrorism than their counterparts in the Democratic Party. Democrats, on the other hand, consider healthcare policy, income inequality and race relations to be more important issues than Republican respondents.
Historically, the economy has been the driving issue for voters in both presidential election years as well as midterm election years. But Gallup notes that international matters as well as terrorism are taking on increasing prominence.
A 2015 Spectrem Group wealth level study of affluent investors finds a dramatic increase in the percentage of households concerned about terrorism. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of Millionaires with a net worth up to $4.9 million rank it as a primary national concern, compared with 59 percent last year.
Millionaires, too, expressed increased concern this year about stock market performance (84 percent vs. 72 percent in 2014).
Concern over the political environment is basically unchanged from last year (84 percent cite this issue as their primary national concern) as households see no improvement in how the White House and lawmakers work together to fix the economy as well as other issues facing the country.
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.