Inflation, health care costs, partisan cooperation among the main problems of nations

Democrats lead the way on many issues, but more Americans agree with Republicans on the economy, crime, immigration

(Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

The Pew Research Center conducted this study to better understand Americans’ views on the issues facing the country, Joe Biden’s job performance, and more. For this analysis, we surveyed 5,115 adults from June 5 to 11, 2023. All of those who took part in this survey were members of the Centers American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey group that is recruited through a national random sampling of resident addresses. In this way almost all US adults have a choice. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education, and other categories. Learn more about the ATP methodology.

Here are the questions used for the report and its methodology.

Enlaces Patrocinados:

The public list of major problems facing the nation includes inflation, affordability of health care, drug addiction and gun violence.

The graph shows partisan differences in assessments of many national issues, but both Republicans and Democrats see the ability of parties to work together as an issue

Yet the ability of Republicans and Democrats to work together is as high on the list of issues as these other concerns. And it is one of the few, among the 16 problems included, on which there is no partisan division.

The Pew Research Center survey, conducted June 5-11 among 5,115 members of the Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel, finds wide differences in perceptions of most national issues.

Inflation remains the top concern for Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, with 77% saying it’s a big deal. The state of moral values, illegal immigration and budget deficits are also seen as major problems by at least two-thirds of Republicans.

For Democrats and Democrat supporters, gun violence is the top concern, with about eight in ten (81%) saying it’s a big deal. Affordability of healthcare ranks second (73% say so).

Democrats are four times more likely than Republicans to say climate change is a very serious problem in the country (64% vs. 14%). Democrats are also far more likely to say that gun violence and racism are very big problems.

In contrast, Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to say illegal immigration is a big problem (70% vs. 25%). They are also about 30 percentage points more likely than Democrats to say that the state of moral values ​​and the budget deficit are very big problems.

Among other findings from the new survey:

The graph shows that 7 out of 10 Americans expect the annual deficit to grow over the next 5 years

Most Americans expect the budget deficit to increase. The share of Americans who consider the budget deficit a very serious national problem has increased modestly since last year, from 51% to 56%.

Relatively few Americans expect the deficit to be smaller in the next few years: 70% say it will be larger in about five years than it is today; 18% expect it to be roughly the same size as it is today, while only 11% say it will be smaller.

Democrats have significant advantages on climate, on health policy; Republicans lead on economy, crime, immigration. The public is more likely to say they agree with the Democratic Party on a range of issues, including abortion policy, health care policy, and climate change policy.

Still, the Republican Party holds a 12-point lead on economic policy: 42% say they agree with the GOP, 30% say they agree with the Democratic Party. The GOP holds similar leads on crime and immigration.

Graph shows Biden's job rating remains below 40%

Biden’s job approval has changed little. Currently, 35% of Americans approve of President Joe Biden’s job performance, while 62% disapprove. Biden’s job approval has changed little in the past year. The poll also finds low job ratings for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (34% approval) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (32%).

Please visit the detailed tables for an up-to-date view of Biden’s approval rating across subgroups.

More Americans agree with GOP on economic policy, crime and immigration policy, but Democrats have edge on many other issues

About four in ten Americans (41%) say they agree with the Democratic Party on climate change policy, while substantially fewer (27%) agree with the GOP; nearly a third (31%) say they disagree with either side.

The Democrats lead is similar on abortion policy and health policy (12 points each).

The graph shows that the GOP maintains the lead on the economy, crime and immigration policy;  Democrats have big gains on climate change, abortion, and health care policy

Republicans have advantages in policies that address the economy (12 points), crime (10 points), immigration (10 points), and the budget deficit (8 points).

Neither side has a significant advantage on education policy, arms policy, or foreign policy.

For the most part, the actions agreed with each side on the issues haven’t changed much over the past year.

However, the GOP’s 10-point lead on immigration policy represents a change from last July, when roughly equal shares of Americans say they agree with each party (38% agree with the GOP, 37% agree with the Democrats).

Furthermore, while Democrats hold an 8-point lead on policies affecting LGBT people (37% agree with the Democratic Party, 29% with the GOP, and 33% with neither party), this is narrower than the Democrats’ 20-point lead last July.

The main problems plaguing the country

Graph shows inflation, healthcare affordability, partisan cooperation, drugs and violence lead public list of top national problems

A majority of Americans say that 8 of the 16 problems included in the survey are very big problems facing the country. These range from economic concerns, such as inflation, health care affordability and budget deficits, to drug addiction, gun violence and violent crime.

Majorities also view the ability of Democrats and Republicans to work together (62%) and the state of moral values ​​(54%) as very big national issues.

The percentage saying healthcare affordability is a big deal has increased by 9 percentage points since May 2022, when 55% said so. Shares saying that gun violence and violent crime are very big problems have also risen since last year (by 9 percentage points and 5 points, respectively).

The graph shows that younger adults are less likely than older adults to view most problems as very big problems, with the exceptions of climate change, unemployment

Racism, domestic and international terrorism, unemployment and the condition of infrastructure rank lower in the public list of major national problems. However, for these and other questions raised in the survey, the majority view each of them as at least moderately large problems.

Older Americans remain more likely than younger Americans to say that a number of issues are very big problems in the country today. The most striking example of this is illegal immigration: about two-thirds of adults aged 65 and over (65%) say that illegal immigration is a very big problem today. About two in ten (22%) of adults under 30 say the same thing.

However, this pattern is reversed on climate change. About half of adults aged 18-29 (48%) say the problem is very serious, while 38% of adults aged 65 and over (and a similar share of adults aged between 30 and 64 years old) says so.

Job ratings for Joe Biden, Kevin McCarthy, Chuck Schumer

The graph shows that more Americans strongly disapprove of Biden than strongly approve

A majority of the public (62%) say they disapprove of Joe Biden’s job performance as president, with 41% strongly disapproving. A much smaller share (35%) say they approve of Biden’s job performance, with only 17% strongly approving.

Black adults are the only racial or ethnic group where a majority says they approve of Biden’s work in office (57%). About half of Asian adults (51%) and six out of ten Hispanic adults say they do disapprove of Biden’s job performance.

Two-thirds of white adults (67%) say they disapprove of Biden’s job performance, including half who strongly disapprove.

While a majority across all age groups disapprove of Biden’s job performance, the percentage who say they strongly disapprove is much higher among adults 65 and older (47%) than those under 30. (34%).

Graph shows majority disapproves of how McCarthy and Schumer are handling their jobs

About two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (65%) approve of Biden’s job performance, with one-third approving strongly. An overwhelming majority of Republicans and Slim Republicans disapprove (92%); nearly three-quarters (73%) strongly disapprove.

Please visit the detailed tables for Biden’s approval rating among other subgroups.

Job ratings for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (34% approval) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (32% approval) are comparable to Bidens. Both congressional leaders get fairly mixed ratings from members of their own party and broadly negative ratings from the opposing party.

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