Gallup: President’s Priorities Not Aligned With Voters’ Concerns

Despite repeatedly telling the American people that increasing taxes on the wealthy and investing billions of dollars in alternative fuel sources is important, American voters simply aren’t on board with President Obama’s top priorities, according to a new USA Today and Gallup poll.*

What are voters concerned about?

“Creating good jobs, reducing corruption in the federal government, and reducing the federal budget deficit,” Gallup’s Jeffery M. Jones writes. “Americans assign much less importance to increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and dealing with environmental concerns.”

“Job creation’s position at the top of the list is consistent with various measures of issue salience or importance Gallup has asked this year,” he adds.

Polling question: “Next, how important a priority should each of the following issues be for the next president — extremely important, very important, somewhat important, or not that important. How about — [RANDOM ORDER]?”

“Corruption in government usually ranks as an important issue when it is asked about specifically, though it is not as top-of-mind as jobs or the economy,” the report adds.

Americans are also concerned about terrorism and threats from abroad as well as fixing/maintaining Social Security, Medicare, and our nation’s schools.

The poll also shows that although they differ on how the issues should be approached, both Romney and Obama supporters agree that job creation and reducing government corruption are of paramount importance.

“Romney supporters rate reducing the federal budget deficit as more important than Obama supporters do. In fact, slightly more Romney supporters say reducing the deficit is extremely important (51%) than say creating jobs is (48%),” Jones reports.

“Likewise, 50% of Obama supporters assign high importance to making healthcare available and affordable, two percentage points more than their rating of any other issue,” he adds.

Of course, as can be expected, Romney and Obama supporters differ greatly on healthcare, the environment, education, and tax increases.

“Figures represent percentage saying issue is extremely important. Data are ranked by Obama-Romney difference” (click to enlarge)

However, note that environmental concerns and increasing taxes on the wealthy are low priorities for both Obama and Romney supporters. Considering how much President Obama has placed an emphasis on the environment and taxation, it’s somewhat surprising to see that his supporters don’t feel the same way.

So what’s the takeaway? Jones sums it up nicely:

Americans’ to-do list for the president on Jan. 20, 2013 — whether it be Obama or Romney — includes creating good jobs, reducing government corruption, and reducing the federal budget deficit. Supporters of both candidates agree about the importance of jobs and corruption …

Job creation has certainly been and will continue to be a major topic during the remainder of the campaign. And both candidates will surely need to outline their plans for reducing the federal budget deficit.

“The candidate who Americans think has the better plans on each of these issues will have an advantage. As of now, Americans believe Romney is better able to handle jobs and the deficit than Obama is,” the report adds.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

*As always, keep in mind the existence of “sampling errors,” that is, the possibility of inaccuracies in the polling data.