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Americans’ Priorities for 2016

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,042 adults using AmeriSpeak to gain insights into Americans’ public policy priorities for 2016.

​Terrorism, health care, immigration, education, and unemployment top the list of the public’s priorities for 2016. While eager for Washington to expend a significant amount of effort dealing with their concerns for the United States, the public has little confidence that the federal government will be able to make much headway on the problems facing the country.  

A recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reveals a diverse collection of issues that Americans want the government to address in 2016. Allowed to cite up to five different issues, the public’s agenda for the next year also includes problems that range from guns to race relations to national security.  

Republicans and Democrats agree on a number of top priority issues, such as unemployment and health care. But there are substantial partisan differences on several high-profile problems, including the importance of poverty, the federal deficit, taxes, and the environment. 

The nationwide poll was conducted December 10-13, 2015, using the AmeriSpeak Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,042 adults.

Three Things You Should Know
From The AP-NORC Poll on Americans’ Priorities for 2016
Among all American Adults:

  1. The public has a variety of concerns. Unemployment is the top economic issue, health care is the most frequently cited domestic issue, and terrorism is the number one foreign policy problem.
  2. Republicans are more likely than Democrats or independents to name a foreign policy issue as one of the most important problems. Democrats are more concerned with domestic issues.
  3. More than 6 in 10 lack confidence in the government's ability to resolve any of the country's important problems.