By BRETT ROWLAND
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – The government is the nation’s top problem, according to Gallup’s latest poll.
The government (21%) beat out inflation (15%) and illegal immigration (11%). Mentions of the economy fell six points to 10%, the lowest reading in a year.
The poll was conducted from Jan. 2-22 during Kevin McCarthy’s contentious Speaker of the House election. The period also included the discovery of classified government documents in President Joe Biden’s private office and home.
Approval ratings for Biden (41%) and Congress (21%) remained unchanged, according to the poll.
The government ranked as the top problem for both Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (24%) and Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (18%), Gallup reported. Inflation and immigration were cited by 18% of Republicans, while mentions of inflation (11%), the economy in general and race relations (9% each) trailed the government among Democrats. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to view unifying the country and the environment as top problems, according to the Gallup poll.
Those polled weren’t optimistic about the nation’s economy.
The Economic Confidence Index, which summarizes responses to the existing and economic outlook items, stood at -39. That is the same as last month, but well above the -58 score last June amid high gas prices and the record low of -72 in October 2008, during the Great Recession. The ECI, which has a theoretical range of -100 to +100, has been negative since July 2021, when the U.S. inflation rate was on the rise, according to Gallup.
“Americans’ mentions of the government as the nation’s most important problem have risen significantly in the past month, while inflation remains the next most-cited issue,” according to Gallup. “Fewer name the economy in general, yet when asked about the economy directly, Americans continue to lack confidence in its current and future health. Views of the job market remain largely positive, but they are diminished from one year ago. While the U.S. unemployment rate remains relatively low, recent layoffs in the technology sector could affect opinions about the job market, and possibly the broader economy, in the coming months.”
Last week, the latest survey from the National Association for Business Economics found that more than half of respondents put the possibility of a recession over the next year at 50% or higher.
“The results … indicate widespread concern about entering a recession this year,” NABE President Julia Coronado said. “For the first time since 2020, more respondents expect falling rather than increased employment at their firms in the next three months.”