Only 3% of Americans consider the environment the most important problem facing the country.
Twenty percent of Americans name unemployment or jobs as the most important problem facing the country in May, up from 14% who mentioned these issues in April. Dysfunctional government (19%) and the economy in general (17%) also rank among the top problems.
These three issues — jobs, economy, and government — have been at the top of the “most important problem” list since the beginning of the year. Mentions of government and politicians rose sharply to 33% in October amid the partial government shutdown, but have dipped back down.
Mentions of the environment as the most important problem have ticked up to 3% in May from an average of 1% over the past six months. The increase may be related to recent news coverage highlighting the negative effects of global warming and climate change on the environment.
Democrats Say Unemployment Is Top Problem, Republicans Say the Economy
Democrats are most likely to name jobs or unemployment as the country’s most important problem, whereas Republicans’ top response is the economy more generally. Democrats, Republicans, and independents are about equally likely to cite dissatisfaction with government. The federal budget deficit is a much larger concern among Republicans (16%) than among independents (7%) and Democrats (3%).