The Public Is Ready for Change

Perhaps the most common theme of this election season has been the need for change. That’s hardly surprising with the economy in dire straights and a shockingly high 85 percent of Americans now saying that the country is seriously off on the wrong track in a recent CBS/New York Times poll.

Chart One

Change starts with the economy—the number one voting issue in the country, according to all polls. But the public’s agenda is broader than that, as shown by a finding from a late October NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. When asked what issues besides the economy they would like to see the new president and Congress deal with in 2009, the public ranked Iraq and Afghanistan, energy independence, and health care reform the highest, far ahead of reducing the influence of special interests and cutting taxes.

Chart Two

These data suggest that if the new president and Congress pursue serious change in 2009, the public will be ready to support them.