NPR logo Economy, Jobs Still Voters' Top Concerns

Economy, Jobs Still Voters' Top Concerns

A Jan. 18, 2011 AARP career event in New York. Frank Franklin II/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

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Frank Franklin II/ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Jan. 18, 2011 AARP career event in New York.

Frank Franklin II/ASSOCIATED PRESS

It's still the economy, stupid, in terms of what Americans are most concerned about, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The nearly 10 percent unemployment rate and unsteady economy are still feeding anxieties about jobs for many who have them and, obviously, for those who don't.

Pew said the economy and jobs scored 87 percent and 84 percent, respectively, on a ranking of Americans' top priorities, the ones they most want their policymakers to tackle.

These results explain why you will continue to hear the health care law and other policies of President Obama and congressional Democrats referred to as "job killing."

Such continued polling results assure that both Republicans and Democrats will continue to accuse their political opponents of not doing enough to create jobs.

Terrorism came in third at 77 percent.

By contrast, several topics related to health care were bunched up together with Medicare and health-care costs tied at 61 percent and health care legislation at 56 percent.

What appeared at the bottom of the priority list may be more interesting than what came in at the top. Simplifying taxes came in at 37 percent, followed by global trade at 34 percent, transportation at 33 percent, global warming at 26 percent and obesity at 19 percent.

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That obesity is at the bottom of the list seems odd, especially given all the TV shows, magazine articles and Internet postings devoted to the issue. There's also the increased awareness of the medical problems related to obesity.

Then there is all the attention the issue has received from First Lady Michelle Obama's making childhood obesity her central issue.

Maybe people aren't saying they're not concerned about obesity, just that they don't see much that the government can or should do about it.