Economy top concern of US voters now, says Gallup

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Washington, Feb 12 (IANS) In the lead-up to the next US primary in the state of South Carolina, Americans’ main concern is the economy, according to a Gallup poll.

The economy and jobs have been a major concern of Americans since 2008 when the country was hit by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Xinhua reported.

While there have been improvements, the US economy has not fully bounced back. Millions remain unemployed or underemployed, wages remain stagnant, and that issue is on Americans’ minds as they decide which candidate to support, said the Gallup poll released on Thursday.

Seventeen percent of Americans name the economy as the top problem, up from 13 percent last month and nine percent in December.

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In those months the government and terrorism were more prominent among Americans edging out the economy as the No.1 problem, Gallup found.

In addition to the economy, at least 10 percent of the US adults mention dysfunctional government, immigration and unemployment as the top problem facing the nation, according to Gallup.

Altogether, 39 percent of Americans name an economic issue — including the economy in general, unemployment, the federal budget, wages and others — as the most important problem in February. That is up from less than 30 percent in December and January, according to Gallup.

While the economy in general ranked as a top issue among Republicans, independents and Democrats, partisans differ in what else they perceive to be most important.

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The Republicans are more likely than Democrats and independents to name the federal budget deficit, immigration and national security.

Democrats and independents are more likely than Republicans to name unemployment or jobs. Democrats are also slightly more likely than independents and Republicans to name race relations, education and health care.

The economy and unemployment are again prominent in Americans’ minds as important problems, while non-economic issues such as terrorism have faded. This could be important to Washington lawmakers as they attempt to agree on the next budget.

As far as average Americans are concerned, the most pressing priority for the nation is keeping the economy vibrant and growing, fixing the way government itself operates, dealing with immigration and keeping the nation safe, especially from terrorism, Gallup found.

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On the campaign front, several Republican candidates continue to talk about national security and stopping terrorism.

These issues speak to fellow Republicans, for whom national security and terrorism are among the most important problems facing the country but not to independents and Democrats who are less likely to name these issues, according to Gallup.

The next Republican Party primary will be held in South Carolina on February 20, while the Democratic Party’s is to be held on February 27.

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