COLUMN: State of the Union: Do you agree with Obama's priorities?
Obama outlined dozens of proposals in his State of the Union address. Do his priorities match yours? Do they match the priorities of most Americans?
To start the week, I asked you what you would like to see in Obama’s State of the Union address, offering my preference that he emphasize the values that unite us. Tuesday, we asked if the address would be historic, and examined a few past addresses that were. The day after the address, we noted the emotional climax of his address — gun control. And, we discussed Obama’s proposal to raise the minimum wage. Today, we compare the president’s priorities with our own.
What are Americans worried about? Gallup routinely surveys Americans to elicit views of the “most important problem” the nation faces. In a survey a few days before the speech, the top two problems were “the economy in general” and “unemployment/jobs.”
The next four problems, in order, were unhappiness with the government and its leaders, the federal budget and deficit, healthcare issues, and guns and gun control.
How does this compare with Obama’s priorities in the State of the Union? Gallup analysts scoured his remarks, identifying 27 specific issues, each of which received at least one paragraph in the address. The percentage of the speech that pertained to an issue gives a rough estimate of where it ranks in the president’s priorities.
Obama devoted more words to economic issues than any other topic. About a quarter of Obama’s address covered these issues. This makes the president’s top concern the same as Americans’ top concern: the economy.
But priorities diverge in other areas. The Gallup analysis shows, however, that Obama gives more priority to education, energy, terrorism, and world affairs than the general public does. And, he gives less priority to healthcare, the budget, and issues with government.
Obama’s and Americans’ priorities match when it comes to gun control, military matters, and taxes.
Do you agree or disagree with Obama's priorities for the nation?
What do you think is the most important problem we face as a nation today?