Gallup Says Six Issues Are Top of Voters’ Minds

January 15, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – When presented with a list of 16 issues, at least 30% of adults rated five as being “extremely important” to determining how they will vote in 2020, the Gallup organization said Tuesday.

The issues were healthcare, national security, gun policy, education and the economy. The poll was conducted Dec. 2-15.

As expected with a Republican president in office, Democrats assign higher importance than Republicans to most of the issues tested, repeating a pattern seen for the opposition party (the party opposite the sitting president) in every election since 2004.

About one in three Americans said health care (35%), terrorism/national security (34%), gun policy (34%) and education (33%) will be extremely important to their vote.

Thirty percent said the same for the economy, the lowest Gallup has measured for that issue in an election year since 2000, another strong economic year.

While trade, infrastructure and foreign affairs all rank near the bottom of the list on extreme importance, three-quarters of Americans (74%) said that infrastructure is at least “very important” to their vote, while 64% and 68% of respondents say the same about foreign affairs and trade, respectively.

Large Partisan Divide

Democrats and Republicans were separated by more than 10 percentage points in nine of the 16 issues polled, and four issues divide them by more than 20 points.

In each of those cases, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say those issues are extremely important to their vote. The largest party gaps on issues regarded as more important by Republicans than Democrats are five points, on abortion and terrorism/national security.

Health care’s high level of importance (35% among all Americans) can be attributed to about half of Democrats and more than a third of independents ascribing it as extremely important, making it the most important issue for both groups.

Gun policy (34%) and education (33%) are similarly driven into Americans’ five most important issues as a result of 20-point Democratic margins. Those issues also rank highly among independents.

Terrorism/national security and the economy — at 34% and 30% among U.S. adults, respectively — are the two most influential issues for Republican voters.

They are less polarizing than Democrats’ two most important issues, given that Democrats also rate these fairly high on importance.

Thirty-eight percent of Republicans rate national security as extremely important to them in the 2020 election, as do 33% of both Democrats and Independents. Republicans (30%), Democrats (30%) and Independents (29%) are all in alignment as to how influential the economy will be to their vote.

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 2-15, 2019, with a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

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