Gallup Poll: Unemployment the Biggest Problem in US

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 10:41 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Unemployment has surpassed government and politicians as the most important problem facing Americans, according to a new poll.

The Gallup survey shows that nearly one in four Americans — 23 percent — say that jobs are the biggest problem, followed by "dissatisfaction" with government, the economy, and healthcare.

The concerns over unemployment have increased by a third from Gallup’s last poll in January, when 16 percent of Americans said jobs was their leading issue.

"Fears about employment and the economy may be linked to weaker-than-hoped-for jobs reports and flat job growth in the past few months," Gallup said in a statement on its website. "The rise in mentions of unemployment specifically may also be related to declining concerns about the government."

The dismay with "government, Congress, poor leadership, politicians, corruption, abuse of power" had topped the polls since the federal shutdown in October, according to Gallup.

The polling organization added, "Now that the shutdown is over, and the government has successfully passed a budget and avoided another debt ceiling shutdown, Americans appear to have shifted their focus away from the government and back to the still relatively weak job market."

The poll showed that fears over unemployment and jobs had increased among Republicans, Democrats and Independents, but the jump was greatest among Republicans, to 24 percent from 11 percent in January.

The economy in general was the second-biggest worry for Americans at 20 percent, with Congress and poor leadership in third place, at 19 percent.

Rounding out the top five in the most important problem category was the high cost of healthcare and bad healthcare in general at 15 percent, and then the federal budget deficit at 8 percent.

Immigration has become a bigger concern in the United States, with 6 percent in the poll saying it’s a major problem, compared to 3 percent in January.

The survey of 1,023 adults was conducted Feb. 6-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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