Donald Trump’s third year in office and the new 116th Congress shows the majority of the U.S. public concerned about the economy, health care costs, education and preventing terrorism These top priorities of Americans are from the latest Study by the respected Pew Research Center. In 116th Congress, at least 13% of lawmakers are immigrants or the children of immigrants.
The list of items for the president and Congress differs only slightly from a year ago, but an emergent share sees a large gap between the parties. It reflects a continued progression of the national agenda.
Improving the economy (70% top priority) remains among the public’s highest priorities, but its prominence has waned significantly in recent years, but this is before the dire economic consequences of Trump’s ongoing government shutdown become apparent.
In 2011, following the Republican Great Recession, 87% called it a top priority. And as public ratings of the employment situation have grown increasingly positive, 50% now say improving the job state of affairs should be a top priority. During each of the previous 10 years, majorities cited jobs as a top priority, including 84% who said this in 2011 and 68% who said this as recently as 2017.
Most (67%) continue to say defending the country from future terrorist attacks is a top priority, though this is one of the lowest shares citing the issue since the September 11 terrorist attacks Pew observes. It is far lower than the roughly eight-in-ten who called it a top priority through much of the early to mid-2000s.
In a divided Washington, the public has low expectations for partisan cooperation in the coming year. About seven-in-ten (71%) think Republicans and Democrats in Washington will bicker and oppose one another more than usual this year; just 21% expect them to work together more than usual.
This is one of the most pessimistic year-ahead outlooks over the past several administrations, matching the 71% who expected more partisan opposition in 2015, following the 2014 midterm elections. Majorities of both Republicans (78%) and Democrats (67%) think partisans in Washington will bicker and oppose one another more than usual this year.