The Government Is America's Most Important Problem

According to a new survey by Gallup, those polled listed government as the country’s most important problem.

Gallup researchers reported:

Americans continue to name the government (18%) as the most important U.S. problem, a distinction it has had for the past four months. Americans’ mentions of the economy as the top problem (11%) dropped this month, leaving it tied with jobs (10%) for second place

Apparently, anxiety about the recession’s effect on jobs has not disappeared, even as the unemployment rates have fallen from a peak near 10% in that period to 5.5% last month.


While the ranking of the top two problems is similar to what Gallup found in February, mentions of the economy dropped from 16% to the current 11%. In a separate measure, Americans’ confidence in the economy had been dipping further into negative territory in late February and early March, but has been improving in recent days.

Even with all the news about race relations, that was far down the list at 4%, the same level as foreign policy.

Based on another scale, the researchers found:

Thirty-one percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the country. Satisfaction has been stable over the last three months; however, it remains higher than most readings since 2007.

Satisfaction with the nation’s direction had declined in 2013 and 2014 after reaching 33% during the 2012 fall presidential campaign. Satisfaction reached an all-time low of 7% in late 2008 as the financial crisis was underway, and an all-time high of 71% in February 1999 amid the dot-com boom.

With the Nasdaq back at the level of the dot-com boom, satisfaction has not lifted accordingly. Perhaps passing through the Great Recession has muted enthusiasm.

Methodology: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 5 to 8, 2015, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

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