The recession may be over, but many Americans do not see the economy that way. Stagnant wages, persistently high unemployment and a spike in energy prices may make the lives of some people in the United States worse than they were four years ago. The fiscal cliff continues to loom, even if many Americans are uncertain of its meaning. The media, economists and politicians have made it clear that the effects are bad. All in all, these troubles have put the economy at the top of the list of concerns on the minds of Americans, with the national election only weeks away.
A new Gallup poll shows:
The “economy in general” ranks No. 1 on Gallup’s Most Important Problem list in October, with 37% of Americans saying it is the top issue facing the country. This is up from 29% in September and exceeds unemployment, in second place at 26%. Mentions of unemployment are down this month from 32% in September, likely reflecting the recent decline in the government’s jobless rate to 7.8%.
Health care and the federal budget lag well behind, a sign that Americans are willing to let seemingly future problems to remain in the future, no matter how essential these issues are to the long-term health of U.S. financials.
Gallup researchers conclude:
The continued dominance of the economy as uppermost on Americans’ minds contrasts sharply with 2004 and 2000, when non-economic issues — the war in Iraq, healthcare, terrorism, education, and dissatisfaction with government, among others — were most prominent.
Troops are on their way home, there have been no attacks on U.S. soil and education problems can be left to those who are still being educated — more signs that Americans cannot look beyond the next few months, or even weeks.
Methodology: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 15 to 16, 2012, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 1,004 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia
Douglas A. McIntyre