• Polling

Inflation and the Economy Remain Top Issue Priorities for Americans

Wednesday, February 21, 2024 By Maryann Cousens
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POLL: Political Landscape on Top Issues

This Navigator Research report contains polling data on what Americans view as the top issues facing the country, perceptions of which party is most trusted to handle those issues, and the latest perceptions of both President Biden and former President Trump.

Jobs and the economy and inflation remain the top two issues Americans want Congress to prioritize.

49 percent of Americans report inflation as a top issue priority, followed by 43 percent of Americans who say the same about jobs and the economy. Similarly, a majority of Americans who are unfavorable toward both Donald Trump and Joe Biden report that their top issue priority is inflation (55 percent). Nearly two in five Americans rate immigration (38 percent) as the third top issue concern behind inflation and jobs and the economy, but this is driven overwhelmingly by Republicans (59 percent): fewer than three in ten Democrats (22 percent) and independents (29 percent) rate immigration as a top priority issue. Democrats rank health care (40 percent), guns (37 percent), climate change and the environment (34 percent), Social Security and Medicare (32 percent), and abortion (29 percent) above immigration; among independents, Social Security and Medicare (35 percent) and corruption in government (31 percent) rank higher.

  • A majority of Americans over the age of 65 report that their top two issue areas are immigration (55 percent) and Social Security and Medicare (47 percent), each higher than inflation or the economy (42 percent and 28 percent, respectively). On the issue of immigration, those over the age of 65 trust Republicans more than Biden and Democrats by 16 points (38 percent Biden/Democrats – 54 percent Republicans), but on the issue of Social Security and Medicare, Biden and Democrats hold a 9-point trust advantage (49 percent Biden/Democrats – 40 percent Republicans).
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: Inflation and the Economy Remain the Top Two Issue Priorities for Americans

Democrats are more trusted on health care, Social Security, and Medicare; Republicans retain an advantage on the economy and immigration.

Americans trust President Biden and Democrats more to handle issues surrounding health care, abortion, and Social Security and Medicare, but continue to trust Republicans more on the economy and immigration. Biden and Democrats garner more trust from Americans on the issue of healthcare by 12 points (49 percent trust Biden and Democrats – 37 percent trust Republicans) and Social Security and Medicare by 8 points (46 percent trust Biden and Democrats – 38 percent trust Republicans). 

  • However, Americans trust Republicans more to handle issues surrounding inflation by 9 points (38 percent trust Biden and Democrats – 47 percent trust Republicans) and jobs and the economy by 8 points (41 percent trust Biden and Democrats – 49 percent trust Republicans).
  • Americans trust Biden and Democratic Party over the Republican Party to handle issues relating to democracy by 7 points (45 percent trust Biden and Democrats – 38 percent trust Republicans). Among Americans under the age of 35, this margin widens to 19 points (48 percent trust Biden and Democrats – 31 percent trust Republicans). 
Bar graph of polling data on America's top issues. Title: Biden and Democrats Are More Trusted on Health Care, Social Security/Medicare; Republicans on the Economy and Immigration

Majorities say Biden protects democracy and looks out for everyday Americans, while Trump protects the rich and big corporations.

A majority of Americans say the descriptors “protects our democracy” (56 percent) and “looks out for people like me” (53 percent) better describe Biden than Donald Trump. Two in three Americans say Donald Trump “protects the rich and big corporations” (65 percent), including nearly seven in ten independents (69 percent) and over three in four who are unfavorable to both Biden and Trump (77 percent). However, by 10 points, a majority think “will bring costs down” describes Trump (55 percent) better than Biden (45 percent).

  •  A majority also say “divisive” and “chaotic” describes Trump better than Biden (58 percent and 60 percent, respectively), including nearly three in five of independents (59 percent say “chaotic,” 57 percent say “divisive”).
  • Nearly two in three Americans say “thinks he is above the law” better describes Trump (64 percent) than Biden (36 percent), including more than three in four Americans who say they are unfavorable to both Biden and Trump (85 percent say this better describes Trump).
Bar graph of polling data from Navigator Research. Title: In Comparison to Biden, Americans Say Trump Protects the Rich, Thinks He Is Above the Law, Is Chaotic, and Is Divisive

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About The Study

Global Strategy Group conducted public opinion surveys among a sample of 1,000 registered voters from January 25-January 29, 2024. 100 additional interviews were conducted among Hispanic voters. 75 additional interviews were conducted among Asian American and Pacific Islander voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among African American voters. 100 additional interviews were conducted among independent voters. The survey was conducted online, recruiting respondents from an opt-in online panel vendor. Respondents were verified against a voter file and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of the national registered voter population across a variety of demographic variables.

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About Navigator

In a world where the news cycle is the length of a tweet, our leaders often lack the real-time public-sentiment analysis to shape the best approaches to talking about the issues that matter the most. Navigator is designed to act as a consistent, flexible, responsive tool to inform policy debates by conducting research and reliable guidance to inform allies, elected leaders, and the press. Navigator is a project led by pollsters from Global Strategy Group and GBAO along with an advisory committee, including: Andrea Purse, progressive strategist; Arkadi Gerney, The Hub Project; Joel Payne, The Hub Project; Christina Reynolds, EMILY’s List; Delvone Michael, Working Families; Felicia Wong, Roosevelt Institute; Mike Podhorzer, AFL-CIO; Jesse Ferguson, progressive strategist; Navin Nayak, Center for American Progress Action Fund; Stephanie Valencia, EquisLabs; and Melanie Newman, Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

For press inquiries contact: press@navigatorresearch.org