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Public Opinion Snapshot: Priorities This Election Season

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Conservatives have been doing a lot of talk about priorities for the country, but how much does it have to do with the public’s priorities this campaign season? Not much.

We’ve heard very little about the economy, for example, but a lot of vague talk about terrorism alongside plenty of general chatter about morality and religion. But the public’s number one priority by a wide margin is the economy. In the most recent USA Today/Gallup poll, 43 percent selected the economy as the number one issue for their vote, followed by 15 percent for Iraq and 14 percent for energy. Just 9 percent selected terrorism and 1 percent volunteered illegal immigration or abortion.

chart one

These poll findings suggests that injecting religion and morality into the political conversation isn’t exactly what the public has in mind. In fact, new Pew Research Center data show that the public is getting less and less interested in this approach to politics. Back in 1996, 54 percent thought churches and other houses of worship should express their views on political questions, while 43 percent thought they should keep out of political matters. Today those figures have been reversed: Fifty-two percent think churches should keep out of politics and 45 percent think they should express their views.

chart two

So here’s a novel idea: Let’s dedicate this election season to the public’s priorities, not the ideological priorities of conservatives.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Katie Peters (economy, education, poverty, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.741.6285 or kpeters@americanprogress.org

Print: Anne Shoup (foreign policy and national security, energy, LGBT issues, health care, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7146 or ashoup@americanprogress.org

Print: Crystal Patterson (immigration)
202.478.6350 or cpatterson@americanprogress.org

Print: Madeline Meth (women's issues, Legal Progress, higher education)
202.741.6277 or mmeth@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Lindsay Hamilton
202.483.2675 or lhamilton@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here