With mixed views of the national economy and their own financial situation, Americans want priority given to several different economic problems. In the latest poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the public sees protecting Social Security and reducing unemployment, poverty, and the federal budget deficit as most important to them personally.
A majority of both Democrats and Republicans favor raising the federal minimum wage, but there are partisan divisions on whether it is the government’s responsibility to deal with income inequality. Legal immigration is considered good for the economy, while the arrival of undocumented immigrants is seen as harmful to the economy.
Some other key findings from the poll include:
- Americans have mixed opinions about the state of the economy: 53 percent describe it as poor, and 46 percent consider it to be in good condition. Half say the economy has remained steady in the last month, and they are evenly divided on whether it is in good or poor shape.
- Most Americans (52 percent) say legal immigration helps the economy. The opposite is true for illegal immigration: 57 percent say it hurts the economy.
- Half of the public says their personal finances have remained static in the past year, and nearly as many (46 percent) expect their finances to be unchanged over the coming year as well. Of the 27 percent who say their finances declined in the past year, 38 percent expect things to improve in the next year, while 34 percent think their finances will stay the same and 28 percent anticipate further deterioration.
- Fifty percent describe increasing the minimum wage as important to them personally. Additionally, 7 in 10 favor raising the minimum wage. When asked how high it should be raised, 52 percent of Americans would like to see it grow from the current $7.75 an hour to $12. Fewer Americans (34 percent) favor raising it even higher to $15 an hour.
- Nearly 6 in 10 consider income inequality an important concern. Reducing the gap between rich and poor is the responsibility of the government according to 56 percent of Americans; 42 percent say it is not a government concern.
- More than half of Americans place importance on regulating financial institutions and markets. Forty-two percent say the regulations put in place after the 2008 financial crisis have not gone far enough, while 31 percent regard them as about right and 25 percent say the regulations have gone too far.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The Importance of Economic Issues | APNORC.org | APNORC.org