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SurveyMonkey public opinion poll: Which issue matters most to Americans?

SurveyMonkey public opinion poll: Which issue matters most to Americans?

Welcome to SurveyMonkey's weekly update on the issues that Americans say matter most. Our surveys ask Americans, “which one of the following issues matters MOST to you right now?” We post weekly results here every Thursday. Details on the latest results, past findings and our methods follow below.

For the week of September 13-19, just over a quarter of Americans (26 percent) select jobs and the economy as the issue that matters most, followed by health care (22 percent), immigration (13 percent), education (11 percent), the environment (10 percent), terrorism (5 percent) and foreign policy (3 percent). Eight (8) percent volunteer another issue.

See topline results and a detailed demographic breakdown.

Condensed topline results from the past 3 weeks

Aug 30 - Sep 5Sep 5 - Sep 12Sep 13 - Sep 19
Jobs and the economy26%25%26%
Health care21%21%22%
The environment10%10%10%
Foreign policy4%4%3%
Other (please specify)9%10%8%
No answer1%1%2%

View topline results for all weeks since January 2017.

Jobs and Economy

When asked to choose the issue that matters most, roughly a quarter of Americans — between 23 and 28 percent per week since February 2017 — choose “jobs and the economy.” The economy has been the most-selected issue in all but brief stretches, particularly in the Summer and Fall of 2017, when concerns about health care spiked to slightly greater levels. Mentions of jobs and the economy are typically higher among Republicans, men, those between the ages of 35 and 54 and African Americans.

Jobs & economy mentions on trend chart of top issue concern as of Sep. 19, 2018

Health care

For most of 2018, health care has been the issue mentioned second most frequently, typically ranging between 19 and 21 percent of U.S. adults. Mentions of health care often rose higher in 2017, spiking to a range of 24 and 30 percent five times — in March, May, late June, late July and October — when Republican legislative efforts to scuttle President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) received significant news coverage. Mentions of health care are typically higher with Democrats and Americans age 55 or older.

Health care mentions on trend chart of top issue concern as of Sep. 19, 2018


Concerns about immigration increased significantly during June 2018 — peaking at 19 percent in late June and early July — as stories about undocumented children being separated from their parents at the borders dominated news coverage. Mentions of immigration have subsequently fallen off, though as of August they remain higher than the levels registered for most of the previous eighteen months.

Mentions of immigration varied between 10 and 12 percent from January to May 2018 and between 7 and 10 percent for much of 2017. Mentions of immigration were slightly higher — between 10 and 13 percent — in the first few weeks of the Trump administration in early 2017, when the President’s ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries first took effect.

During 2017, mentions were typically twice as high among Republicans (13 percent across the full year) as among Democrats (6 percent) and independents (6 percent). The increase in June and July 2018 occurred more heavily among Democrats. While Republicans continue to mention immigration more often, the gap narrowed significantly.

Immigration mentions on trend chart of top issue concern as of Sep. 19, 2018


Mentions of terrorism have gradually fallen off during 2018, ranging between 6 and 8 percent for much of the year and falling as far as 4 percent during August 2018. In 2017, concerns tended to rise and fall following high profile terrorist attacks. While 8 to 10 percent mentioned terrorism as a concern during much of the year, those concerns spiked briefly to 12 percent in April, 14 percent in mid-June, 13 percent in mid-August and 13 percent in late September/early October.

Despite the decline, mentions of terrorism continue to be most frequent among Republicans, white Americans without a college degree and adults age 65 or older.

Terrorism mentions on trend chart of top issue concern as of Sep. 19, 2018


The most recent SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted September 13 through September 19, 2018 among a national sample of 20,492 adults. Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data were weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1 percentage point. Read more about our methodology.