The people's agenda—America's priorities and outlook for 2014

Jan 02, 2014

The Associated Press—NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has released the results of a major new survey that reveals the American people's list of issues they believe should be the focus of government attention in 2014. The same survey also explores the complex blend of personal, political, and ideological factors that lie behind such a list.

The data reveal broad doubts that the will make progress in addressing the public's policy priorities, and feelings about the role of institutions other than government to solve major problems.

"While it is very easy to ask people to choose a single 'most important problem' and to build a list for the answers, the reality is that government has to address many issues at the same time," said Trevor Tompson, director of the AP-NORC Center. "This survey, with data about the public's priorities on a range of policy issues, provides policy makers with rigorous data as they seek to understand the public's outlook on where the country is now and what the action agenda should be for the year ahead."

Key findings of the Survey Include:

  • The public's preferred agenda for the government in 2014 includes a diverse set of policy issues that range from economic problems to social policies to foreign affairs.
  • Health care reform tops the public's list of priorities, mentioned by 52 percent of respondents as one of the top ten problems, followed by unemployment (42 percent), the economy in general (39 percent), and the federal deficit (31 percent).
  • Few have faith in the current political system, with the government receiving low marks on its performance in upholding the nation's fundamental principles. For example, 55 percent believe the government is doing a poor job of representing the views of most Americans while only 9 percent say it is doing a good job.
  • Americans are more pessimistic than optimistic on matters such as the nation's ability to produce strong leaders, America's role as a global leader, and the opportunity to achieve the American dream.
  • Compared with the early 1970s, 20 percent of Americans feel technology is the biggest change in American life, with specific changes including the Internet, computers, and communications. By contrast, fewer than ten percent cite politics as the biggest change and five percent moral, religious, or social change.
  • A majority of Americans believe that American institutions such as churches, small and medium-sized businesses, and charitable organizations are doing "the right amount," when it comes to fixing problems the government cannot while similar numbers believe big business, labor unions, and wealthy individuals are not.

This nationally representative survey was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research between December 12 and 16, 2013, with 1,141 adults 18 and over from the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The overall margin of error is +/- 3.7 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Explore further: Pop music heritage contributes to the formation of identity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wealthy disagree with most Americans about income policies

Feb 22, 2013

(Phys.org)—As Congress and President Obama wrestle over the "sequester" and other measures that would dramatically cut government spending, the first systematic study of the political attitudes of wealthy Americans indicates ...

Resilience in the wake of Superstorm Sandy

Jun 24, 2013

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has released results of a major survey exploring resilience of people and neighborhoods directly affected by Superstorm Sandy.

New study shows government spending preferences of Americans

Mar 09, 2011

In its 27th survey of American spending priorities since 1973 conducted as part of its General Social Survey (GSS), NORC at the University of Chicago Wednesday released a report on its most recent findings. By a notable margin, ...

Recommended for you

Pop music heritage contributes to the formation of identity

4 hours ago

The musical rebels of the past are today's museum pieces. Pop music is increasingly penetrating heritage institutions such as museums and archives. That is apparent from the PhD research of Arno van der Hoeven. On Thursday ...

Helping older employees stay in their jobs

5 hours ago

Factors that can hinder older employees from continuing to work include workload, a poor memory and the pensionable age-effect. The Job-Exposure Matrix is a newly developed instrument that provides an easy way to chart the ...

Explainer: What is a small private online course?

6 hours ago

If you have studied an online course at a university over the past couple of decades, you've probably already experienced a SPOC, or Small Private Online Course. SPOC is a new term for an old concept, which appears to be frustrating members of the distance edu ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
not rated yet Jan 07, 2014
with the economy in a healthy upswing - the imbroglio of O care moving towards solutions - it may be time for Americans to rethink the wisdom of unilateral disarmament. With all the good tidings from the Fed and employment figures it seems logical to be increasing their freedom watch and military intervention against the hordes of hostiles still out there. Use the surplus resources in the war on terror and freedoms everywhere. The dividends will pay off many times over.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.