Conservatives are just as likely to say the government's top priority this year should be repealing President Obama's health care law as to say improving the economy should take the top spot, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted ahead of the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual conference, which started Thursday.
Among all Americans, improving the economy was the clear-cut winner. Asked to choose from a list, 51 percent ranked that as the No. 1 issue the government faces, while 21 percent ranked repealing the health care law at the top.
A number of other potential priorities were ranked at the top by less than 1 in 10 Americans. Those options included improving the health care law so that it works better (8 percent), dealing with global climate change (7 percent), reducing domestic surveillance by the NSA (6 percent), investigating political abuse by the IRS (5 percent) and investigating the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack (4 percent).
People who identify as liberal or moderate were equally likely to place improving the economy at the top among those priorities, at 56 percent each. But only 40 percent of conservatives said the same. About as many -- 39 percent -- said that repealing the health care law should be at the top of the list.
The poll shows that a health care repeal ranks far ahead of other top conservative priorities. Rounding out conservative opinion on which issue the government should deal with first, 7 percent said investigating the Benghazi attack, 6 percent said investigating political abuse by the IRS, and 5 percent said reducing NSA domestic surveillance.
Only 2 percent of conservatives said they thought improving the law should be the top priority, while a combined 62 percent ranked it last (26 percent) or next to last (36 percent) on the list.
Not surprisingly, given their opinion on the issue as a whole, dealing with global climate change was ranked even lower on the list by conservatives, 56 percent of whom ranked it dead last on the list and another 26 percent of whom ranked it next to last. Only 2 percent ranked it first on the list.
In addition to the 39 percent who placed repealing the health care law first on the list of priorities, another 25 percent of conservatives ranked it second. Improving the economy (22 percent) and investigating the IRS (20 percent) were also ranked second by many conservative respondents.
Not surprisingly, most conservatives (58 percent) think the Republican party most shares their views about the most important issues facing the country, while only 6 percent said the Democratic party does. But nearly a third of conservatives said neither party shares their priorities.
Among all Americans, 33 percent said the Democratic party shares their views about the biggest priorities facing the government this year and 28 percent said Republicans do. Another 31 percent said neither does.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted March 3-4 among 1,000 U.S. adults, including 357 conservatives, using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.