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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Priorities and Polarization

From the Public Religion Research Institute:
Among 12 major political issues, Americans are most likely to rate health care (65%) as a critical issue. A majority (54%) of Americans also say terrorism is a critical issue. Just under half feel similarly about climate change (49%), immigration (49%), and the fairness of presidential elections (48%). More than four in ten Americans consider foreign interference in presidential elections (46%), crime (45%), jobs and employment (45%), and race relations (44%) to be critical issues as well. Americans are less likely to regard the federal deficit (40%), the gap between the rich and the poor (38%), and trade agreements with other countries (35%) as critical.
Even the majority agreement on health care and terrorism as critical issues, however, masks deep partisan divides. Strikingly, none of the top three critical issues for Democrats overlap with the top three critical issues for Republicans. Like Americans overall, Democrats are most likely to regard health care (77%) as critical. But Democrats rate climate change (72%) and foreign interference in presidential elections (63%) as the next most critical issues. By contrast, Republicans’ top three critical issues are terrorism (63%), immigration (60%), and crime (50%).
Two of the issues most rated as critical by independents, health care (64%) and climate change (50%), are also prioritized by Democrats, while the third issue, terrorism (51%), is at the top of the list for Republicans.