A new Gallup poll which asked respondents “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” is out. The survey, taken April 10-13, separated economic issues, like the price of gas, from non-economic issues. On the non-economic side, 19 percent of those polled named immigration as the most important issue — up dramatically from six percent who named it the most important issue in mid-March and two percent who named it the most important issue last October.
But just as dramatic are the differences in who is most concerned about immigration. Thirty percent of self-identified Republicans named it the most important issue, while just 11 percent of self-identified Democrats said the same (for independents, the number was 16 percent). Twenty-five percent of people who called themselves conservatives named immigration the most important issue, versus 13 percent who called themselves liberal (for self-described moderates, the number was 18 percent).
Another way of looking at it is to say that the parties have mirror-image views on the relative importance of immigration versus the war in Iraq. Fifteen percent of self-identified Republicans said the war is the most important issue, versus 30 percent who said immigration. But 30 percent of self-identified Democrats said the war is the most important issue, versus 11 percent who said immigration. For independents, 21 percent said Iraq, versus 16 percent who said immigration.
Finally, few people placed terrorism at the top of their list. Eight percent of Republicans, and six percent of Democrats, said it was the most important problem facing the country today.
And one more thing: A number of issues scored one percent or less on the most-important scale. Among them are:
Natural disaster relief effort and funding
Gap between rich and poor