(CNN) – Americans are most concerned about keeping their money out of the government's hands this holiday season, indicates a new Gallup poll.
When asked about the lame-duck Congress and to rate the importance of six possible actions lawmakers may take before year's end, those surveyed most want Capitol Hill to vote down an increase in the estate tax and to extend some form of the federal income tax cuts passed during the Bush administration.
Extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed ranked third in the poll, which was conducted through last weekend.
Fifty-six percent of Americans responded that passing legislation that would keep the estate tax from increasing significantly next year was very important to them. And half of Americans give the same rating to extending Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year.
Forty-eight percent of survey respondents are most concerned with extending unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, according to the poll, and 4 in 10 believe it is important for Congress to ratify the new START treaty with Russia.
Political party priorities vary drastically: almost 7 in 10 Republicans say that the extending tax cuts and the prevention of estate tax increases are very important but, overwhelmingly, Democrats choose the extension of unemployment benefits as their top cause. The next priority for Democrats is ratifying the START treaty, though only half rank it as very important.
Repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the U.S. military, falls at the bottom of the list for the GOP, while the extension of tax cuts takes last place on the priority list for Democrats.
The survey suggests that Americans follow the trend of the GOP when it comes to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. About one in four say it is not too/not at all important. Similarly, the country is less concerned with Congress acting on the DREAM Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children. Thirty-eight percent say it is not too/not at all important.
Gallup's poll was conducted by telephone from November 19-21 among 1,037 adults. It has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.