Gallup: Registered Voters Say the Economy Is Most Important Issue

By Susan Jones | October 5, 2020 | 7:05am EDT
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the economy at an airport hanger in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 17, 2020. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Donald Trump delivers remarks on the economy at an airport hanger in Oshkosh, Wisconsin on August 17, 2020. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Despite the media's focus on COVID and the daily slams on the president's handling of the pandemic, registered voters say the economy is "the most important issue ...that may potentially affect their choice for president," Gallup reported on Monday.

The poll found that nearly nine in 10 registered voters consider the presidential candidates' positions on the economy to be "extremely" (44%) or "very" (45%) important to their vote.

At least three-quarters of voters considered six other issues to be important to their vote choice -- terrorism and national security (83%), education (82%), healthcare (80%), crime (79%), the response to the coronavirus (77%), and race relations (76%).

Notably, "Relations with Russia" ranked last in the list of 16 issues presented to voters.

Majorities of voters said the remaining eight issues were "extremely" or "very" important: These include foreign affairs (74%), gun policy (68%), immigration (65%), the federal budget deficit (65%), relations with China (64%), abortion (61%), taxes (61%), and climate change (55%). Only one issue -- relations with Russia -- is viewed as important to less than a majority of voters (49%).

The poll was conducted Sept. 14-28, and it goes without saying that a lot has happened since then, including the Trump-Biden debate and the President's hospitalization.

According to Gallup:

The economy is typically rated as a highly important issue in helping voters decide whom to support in presidential elections. This was especially the case in 2008 amid the Great Recession when 55% of voters said it was of the utmost importance. In each presidential election year since 1996, between 85% and 95% of registered voters have rated the economy as extremely or very important.

Voters have also historically been likely to consider national security and education as key factors in their vote choice. Since 2003, an average 83% of voters have said terrorism or national security is important, and since 1996, an average 85% have said education is.

Not surprisingly, Gallup found a partisan divide on the issues that matter most to voters:

Democrats' priorities were, in order: healthcare, the coronavirus response, race relations, climate change, the economy and education.

Republicans assigned the most importance to the economy and national security, followed by crime, education, and gun policy.

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