July 27 2014
First Lady and American Voters at Odds over What Matters
Vicki E. Alger
First Lady Michelle Obama says “immigration, an increase in the minimum wage and reproductive rights [are] the issues that need to get Democrats motivated,” Politico reports. But what do Americans think? According to a recent Gallup poll:
…the percentage of Americans citing immigration as the top problem has surged to 17% this month, up from 5% in June, and the highest seen since 2006. As a result, immigration now virtually ties "dissatisfaction with government," at 16%, as the primary issue Americans think of when asked to name the country's top problem. …The economy and unemployment rank just below immigration and dissatisfaction with government in perceived importance, at 15% and 14%, respectively. However, no other issue reaches double-digit concern this month.
Reproductive rights, birth control in particular, doesn’t appear as a leading issue in recent polls, but even without government mandates it’s available to women who want it, and individuals who do not should not be forced by government mandates to subsidize it. What’s more, close to half of likely voters (47 percent) have a negative view of how President Obama is handling healthcare. Other recent surveys of likely voters find:
- Just 26 percent think the country is heading in the right direction.
- Only 21 percent would be more likely to shop in store with talking shopping carts from the USDA.
- And more trust Republicans over Democrats when it comes to the economy (46 to 39 percent).
Public opinion polls can and will change in the weeks and months to come, but what’s striking is how few Americans trust government to solve pressing problems. The opposite side of the coin is that Americans may be turning to more innovative, local solutions to issues that affect them most—and that’s what self-governance is all about.