Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping

Jan 23, 2012

 As the 2012 State of the Union approaches, the public continues to give the highest priority to economic issues. Fully 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority. None of the other 20 issues tested in this annual survey rate as a top priority for more than 70% of Americans.

More generally, the public’s concerns rest more with domestic policy than at any point in the past 15 years; 81% say Obama should be focused on domestic policy, just 9% say foreign policy. In keeping with this, defending against terrorism and strengthening the military are given less priority today than over the course of the past decade.

Nonetheless, the public is keeping a wary eye on Iran. It is now seen as the country that represents the greatest danger to the U.S., and more Americans prioritize taking a firm stand against Iran over avoiding military conflict. And with respect to restructuring America’s national security policy, the public is evenly divided as to whether a smaller military can be just as effective as a larger one in facing future security challenges.

Read the full report, Public Priorities: Deficit Rising, Terrorism Slipping, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.

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