A new poll from Pew Research shows the public’s top policy priorities include terrorism, the economy and education. These priorities have differed slightly in the last few years, with protecting the environment gaining the most support since 2009 and people steeply dropping off in concern about improving the job situation.
The poll, which asked respondents whether each issue should be “a top priority,” “important, but a lower priority,” “not too important” or “should not be done” shows that more than three-quarters of Americans think terrorism is a top priority. Seventy-three percent view the economy as a top priority, and just under 7 in 10 rate education, jobs, and health care costs as top priorities.
Of course, there are quite a few partisan divides. Republicans’ top three priorities are terrorism, the economy and jobs. Democrats’ top priorities are terrorism, education and the environment. While Democrats are generally more worried about climate change, the environment, and the poor and needy than their Republican counterparts, Republicans showed greater concern about the military and immigration than Democrats did.
In the first few days of his term, Donald Trump has signed several executive actions that have moved toward dismantling the Affordable Care Act, begun withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, reinstated the “global gag order” that refuses to fund any international organization that counsels women about abortion and pushed forward the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines.
Of the highest priorities the public has, Trump has addressed reducing health care costs ― although it’s unclear whether repealing and replacing the ACA would achieve this ― and the environment. Polling shows two-thirds of people -- and a higher, 69 percent, of Republicans -- consider reducing health care costs a top priority. The environment is about halfway down the list of concerns, with 55 percent saying it’s a top priority and only 38 percent saying climate change is a top priority.
Even though immigration was one of Trump’s signature issues during the campaign, fewer than half of Americans think it’s an issue that should be at the top of lawmakers’ agendas. Even though 59 percent of Republicans rate it as a top priority, that’s still only enough to put it in seventh place on the list of Republicans’ top priorities.