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The Nation's Priorities And The Direction Of The Country

The economy, gun violence, and immigration are the country's most important issues.

Photo by Robert Linder / Unsplash

Key Statistics From the TIPP Poll

  • Over four in ten Americans (44 percent) prioritize the economy as the country's most important issue
  • Gun violence/control (32 percent) and immigration/border security (29 percent) are the other top concerns
  • Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) express dissatisfaction with the direction of the country

What are Americans' priorities as we enter the second half of 2023?

Over four in ten Americans (44 percent) picked the economy as the country's most important issue, while gun violence/control, at 32 percent, and immigration/border security, at 29 percent, were the other top concerns.

These results are from the latest IBD/TIPP Poll, which surveyed 1,358 Americans and was completed in early June. The poll asked participants, "What are the top three issues facing the country?"

One in five respondents (20 percent) rated crime as a top issue.

Ten issues received double-digit importance. Homelessness (19 percent), debt ceiling (18 percent), health care (17 percent), climate change (17 percent), and trust in government/politicians (16 percent) garnered more than 15 percent of respondents' attention.

Lack of unity in the nation (15 percent), abortion (13 percent), racial justice (12 percent), home affordability (13 percent), and the Russia-Ukraine war (11 percent) were the other five issues that scored above 10 percent.

Investigation of the Trump administration ranked last with 4 percent, sharing the bottom three positions with Coronavirus (5 percent) and China-U.S. relations (6 percent).

Priorities varied along party and ideological lines.

For Democrats, the top issues were gun violence/gun control (46%), the economy (36%), climate change (27%), health care (22%), and abortion (19%).

Republicans, on the other hand, prioritized the economy (54%), immigration and border security (49%), crime (26%), trust in government/politicians (23%), and the debt ceiling (21%).

Independents aligned more closely with Republicans, with their top issues being the economy (44%), immigration and border security (32%), and gun violence/gun control (28%). Homelessness (20%) and crime (20%) also made the top five for independents.

Top Economic Issues

Inflation (50%), food prices (43%), gasoline prices (24%) are the top-three economic issues facing Americans.

We gave respondents a list of 18 economy-related issues and asked them to choose their top three concerns.

Recession (22%), the ability of Americans to pay their bills (20%), h​igh taxes (18%), h​ome affordability (18%), e​xcessive government spending (18%), and r​ising interest rates (15%) received double-digit responses.

Direction Of Country

Each month we probe the general sentiment​ about the country’s direction using the survey question, "In general, how satisfied are you with the direction that the country is going in at this time?"

Nearly two-thirds (64%) are dissatisfied with the country’s direction. 35% expressed they are not at all satisfied and 29% are not very satisfied. Most Republicans (83%) and independents (72%) expressed dissatisfaction. One-half (53%) of Democrats are satisfied.

We also compute a compact index from responses to the question. The index ranges from 0 to 100. An index of 50 or above is positive, below 50 is negative, and 50 is neutral.

Overall, the index entered the negative zone in September 2021 and has remained there for the past ten months. The June reading was 36.5.

Democrats had the most optimistic reading, at 51.9. Republicans had the lowest score (19.9), indicating extreme pessimism. Independents stayed in the middle at 31.4.

Democrats fell 25.4 points from a high of 77.3 in April 2021 to 51.9 this month, a 33% drop.

Republicans' slide began after the elections in November 2020, and they have been posting pessimistic readings (under 50) for 31 months in a row, with an average of 23.5 during Biden's presidency.

Independents averaged 33.5 during Biden's presidency.

The nation faces a protracted stagflation, an economic slowdown accompanied by a recession. With poll numbers falling even among Democrats, it is clear that the nation's leadership has their work cut out for them.

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