A Gallup poll finds 37% of Americans say the economy is the #1 issue facing the country, followed by unemployment.. The number of people who think the economy is tops is up from 29% in September.
The economy in general was a more prominent concern for Americans four years ago, on the eve of the 2008 presidential election, than it is today. At that time, the percentage mentioning the economy approached 50% or more. However, unemployment was a much lesser concern then than now (12% in October 2008 vs. 26% today), as was the federal budget deficit (3% vs. 12%). Thus, when factoring in all types of economic issues that are mentioned, including unemployment, the federal budget deficit, and taxes, among others, the percentage of net economic mentions is actually slightly higher today: 72% vs. 69%.
The current emphasis on economic concerns stands in stark contrast to the 2004 and 2000 elections, when less than half of Americans named any type of economic issue as the nation's top problem. Net economic mentions stood at 40% in October 2004 and 21% in October 2000, while percentages of specific mentions of the economy in general were even lower (at 21% and 8%, respectively).