CNN Poll: Economy still top priority
January 25th, 2011
12:01 PM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Economy still top priority

Washington (CNN) - What do Americans want President Obama and Congress to concentrate on in the coming year?

According to a new national poll, a majority of Americans rate four issues - the economy, unemployment, health care, and the budget deficit - as "extremely important," with the economy topping the list at 63 percent.

Full results (pdf)

According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, hours before President Barack Obama gives the annual State of the Union address, only those four issues reach the 50 percent mark, although Social Security and education, at 47 percent, come close. At the bottom of the list: social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, with gun policy not faring much better.

Despite a recent uptick in the number of Americans who think the economic conditions are good, the economy remains the public's number-one priority, with 63 percent rating it extremely important and another 32 percent calling it very important.

"That's about where it was when Obama gave his State of the Union speech last year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Health care, taxes, and the deficit have all grown in importance since last January - nine points for health care, eight points for taxes, and six points for the deficit."

Most other issues are roughly as important to the public as they were last year, but terrorism is down ten points.

"In fact, national security issues like terrorism, Afghanistan and Iraq don't rank very highly. That's not good news for the White House, since Obama gets his highest marks on foreign policy issues," adds Holland.

The economy's been the top issue on the minds of Americans in CNN surveys since December 2007.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Jan. 21-23, with 1,012 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

- CNN Deputy Political Deputy Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

Filed under: Congress • Economy • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Lynne

    I'm still waiting for the Republicans to start taking about job development....they said it was important....guess not important enough to deal with at work..since they have jobs.

    January 25, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - John "The Weeper of the House" Boehner

    The economy is the country's top priority, but not mine. Jobs are eventually going to come back. I'm not sure when, but they're coming back. My top priority is the Afghanistan war and when will we switch to a counter-terrorism strategy rather than a counter-insurgency.

    January 25, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Get Grip

    "- the economy, unemployment, health care, and the budget deficit"-.yes, this is our concern and many of us have become more concerned because Obama and is administration has made "- the economy, unemployment, health care, and the budget deficit" worse and have no idea how to fix the problems.

    January 25, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Sebastian Kent of Greensboro NC

    Every 30 years or so, the Republican party makes a play for "working-class whites" and they are on verge of doing so again. [think of the Joe-the-Plumbers]. The GOP successfully gets them to vote against their self interest while winning their votes.

    It`s time for the Democrats to PROACTIVELY lay out, in easy to digest language, how they are better,and what they have done, to help the $24/hour wage earner. Make it unavoidably clear that anyone in this socio-economic strata, who votes against the President, KNOWS how they are cutting off their own nose.

    They will not ever be among the wealthiest 2% [hedge fund manager,etc] and so if they have any sense they should support the Party of the Everyday Man & Woman ... and not but into the AntiAmerican and socialist labels the GOP gives Obama`s agenda. He is best for them.

    January 25, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. "Made in USA"

    Jobs,jobs and jobs will return home in great numbers sooner than later if" "We the People" entice all Americam Companies who have dismantled and shipped the country's manufacturing base over there and elsewhere. So fellow Americans lets make a collective pledge to consume only USA goods and services for a full year. "Lo and behold and they will come"...!!!!

    January 25, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Marcus

    Some of the comments on the ticker about 'Optimism' are really a proof of the delusions that moves some people nowadays.
    The GOPers got a majority in the House in November, this said majority has but started to do their job and because of that the ecxonomy is better and there'scause for the optimism.
    If things could be so easily changed and moved up or down. But it's not.
    It was NOT because Obama was elected (in Nov 08) that the economy took a dive (It started in in September 08, 2 months before the election, in case you really forgot that).
    The 'Housing Bubble', 'Subprime Crisis' or whatever you want to call it started in Clinton's last term, was expanded exponentially during GWB's two terms and is being dealt with by Obama (and GWB's last acts, like the money that was loaned to banks).
    The economy is improving and, unlike what those guys and gals said in their posts, the Democrat POTUS and his policies DO OWN A MAJOR PART OF THE CREDITS FOR THAT.
    But there's still a lot to do.

    January 25, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  7. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    The federal government under the Democrats and Obama created to most vicious business environment ever seen in this country. Was ANY corporattion, industry or CEO NOt subjected to attack, intimidation, takeover, taxes, regulation, letters from this administration, etc? Oh yeah, maybe the ones that contributed to his election.

    Is it any wonder why businesses aren't hiring? Given what's happened over the last 2 years in Washington, they don't know what federal fiasco is coming next.

    January 25, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  8. johnrj08

    The Republicans have no plans and no ideas. They're totally focused on disassembling whatever Obama managed to do over the last two years. If they had their way, they would repeal every single piece of legislation and undo every appointment which Obama supported. Some top Republicans weren't satisfied with extending the tax cut for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Now, they're talking about privatizing Social Security, which will be a windfall for Wall Street - until it crashes again and everybody loses their retirement income. They want to eliminate Medicare and give the elderly coupons instead. This would put our oldest citizens in the position of having to go out and find a private insurer who will cover them for the value of that coupon. This will result in less care for those who need it most, and more bankrupt families. The Republicans in Congress have no social conscience. Everything is seen through the prism of politics and power. You want to cut the deficit? Cut military spending by 10% and give everybody in American free health care and a college education.

    January 25, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Well, too bad. The next thing on the GOP's agenda is trying to takeover the private health care industry by enacting HC3, which purposefully creates an economic and tax environment designed to cut off ALL abortion coverage in the United States under the guise of preventing federal funding of abortions. They're design is to create an economically untenable situation for insurance carriers to provide ANYONE with coverage for abortions. It's so thinly veiled you'd think it was a belly dancer. Seriously.

    If tax cuts for PRIVATE insurance companies that happen to offer some plans that cover abortion is "federal funding of abortion" then, ipso facto, tax cuts for the top 2% of the wealthiest Americans is "federal funding of golden toilets." Moreover, if allowing tax cuts that were written to be temporary to expire by their own terms is "raising taxes" then, ipso facto, repealing the availability of industry-wide general tax cuts to insurers who offer some plans that cover abortion is "raising taxes." These jerks need to be taken to task.



    January 25, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. NoCountryLeftForKids

    Why are you waiting on GOP to provide you jobs? The control one House. Obama and the DEMs control the Senate & WH. Did look to Obama and his supermajority Congress provide any jobs the pass 2yrs? Or did they invent jobs? really?

    January 25, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. NoCountryLeftForKids

    Oh wow re-election is coming up. We will focus on jobs & economy again!
    This president constantly does the complete opposite of what he says. I don't know how any trust this cluless twit! Knock Bush all u want but he understood the economy and know businesses provide job. Going after them is moronic as Obama has done. Once the Dems came in 2007, with there entitlement bribery of the simpletons & redistribution crap, & spending, the economy tanked! They drove this economy off the cliff!

    January 25, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. NoCountryLeftForKids

    Lynne where are the jobs the Dems promised for the past 3 yrs. Obama promised the world on jobs where r they? If u want GOP to give u jobs, did u expect Dems to do the same?
    Intellectually dishonest now aren't we?

    January 25, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. Taking Back America; One Vote At A Time

    I fo r one do not care to Obambi "talk" about doing anything because that is ALL he has ever done! Talk is cheap......cut the spending, ALL spending....,Let's take care of our seniors, veterans, disabled, sick etc......and ALL other entitlements, FLUSH them down the toliet.

    January 25, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. still waiting to see improvements

    I consider myself to be very lucky that I'm still employed. I've observed many family members that have had reduced hours and layoffs. I know several people that have ended up deep in credit card debt just trying to make ends meet. I just don't see drastic improvement for the average American.

    I'm still disgusted by the bailouts that were handed out to large companies. Some of those companies are the ones that are ripping people off everyday. They should have had to repay the money at an equivalent rate of whatever the highest rate is that they're charging consumers. Then maybe they would actually lower their rates and people could make some progress. Where is the bailout for the average U.S. citizen?

    January 25, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Correction

    Actually, the more negative effects done to our economy took place not only during Bush's last two years, but more importantly when the Democrats took over Congress. Since then the national debt has quadrupled, unemployment rose to over 9 percent, and more than 40 million people lost their jobs. Furthermore, our new foreign policy is to kiss up to Muslims and nations that either sponsor terrorism or are communist. You're right: the policies of the Democrats with the help of their upper class/wealthy campaign contributors do own major credit for this fiasco. Now we need the Republicans in the House to quickly right this ship, cease stimulus spending that didn't stimulate our economy because we had nothing to spend it with, and help this nation regain our national pride by putting Americans first.

    January 25, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Can we Americans get some help from Republicans and tea baggers in this economy. For 2 years they've done nothing but complain and campaign for jobs for themselves and none for Americans. Now they sit back and wait to see what the President will say in the SOTU address so they can again complain and campaign and not lift a hand to help Americans. Americans are tired of hearing Republicans and tea baggers talk about what's wrong when Americans know what's wrong, they need jobs. If they can't give a hand to help the President to help Americans, then they don't deserve our help in getting them elected.

    January 25, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. A useful poll

    Generally CNN does too much polling and not enough newsgathering & analysis, but this poll is useful. Hopefully the GOPs will get it through their thick skulls that everyone right & left cares about the economy & is open to data-tested solutions to fix it. No one is interested in their stupid social agenda. GOPs' use of their fluke election to push this nonsense is deeply cynical and a betrayal of their voters.

    January 25, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Bill, Jacksonville FL

    Apparently Republicans have not seen this pole, because they have done absolutely nothing since being elected to help the economy. On the other hand, Democrats continue to put up more legislation to aid economic recovery while Republicans continue to hamper those efforts.

    January 25, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |