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Democrats, Republicans, Independents Differ on Issues That Worry Them Most

3 years ago
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The top five issues that Americans worry about the most would not surprise anyone -- the economy, federal spending and the deficit, availability and affordability of health care, unemployment and the Social Security system. But one polling snapshot zeroes in on the difference in emphasis that Republicans, Democrats and independents regard as the top issues.

For the overall population, 71 percent say they worry a great deal about the economy, 64 percent name federal spending and the deficit, 58 percent are concerned about health care, 57 percent fret about unemployment and 51 percent mention Social Security, according to a Gallup poll conducted March 3-6.

But looked at along party lines, federal spending tops the list for Republicans at 79 percent, with the economy a close second at 76 percent. The size and power of government is a major worry for 62 percent of Republicans, compared to 48 percent for the overall public. Illegal immigration is another issue higher on the list for Republicans (at 55 percent) than it is for the general public (42 percent).

Democrats put health care at the top of their list with 69 percent saying that's their top worry, followed by the economy at 64 percent, unemployment at 60 percent and Social Security at 53 percent.

Among independents, the order of concerns is: the economy (72 percent), federal spending (65 percent), health care (58 percent) and unemployment (55 percent).

The issue Americans worry about least is race relations, which only 16 percent call a top worry, with the environment second to last at 34 percent. In between, for the public at large, is availability and affordability of energy (46 percent), crime and violence (44 percent), illegal immigration (42 percent), hunger and homelessness (41 percent), possibility of a terrorist attack in the U.S. (40 percent) and drug use (40 percent).

Health care did not break into the ranks of top concerns for Republicans, and a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, conducted March 8-13, shows that it continues to be a polarizing issues, with Republicans strongly opposed to the year-old reform measure and Democrats strongly in support.

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