The public wants the new Congress to focus on three areas when it convenes next year: health care costs, immigration, and jobs. Few, however, want the Democratically controlled House to make investigating the Trump White House a priority. That's the finding of the latest IBD/TIPP poll.
The poll also found that President Trump's approval rating dipped to 39% in the wake of his party's midterm election losses. That's down a point from last month. Fifty-five percent say they disapprove of how Trump is handling his job, which is up two points from last month.
The nationwide IBD/TIPP poll asked people to list their first and second priorities for the new Congress from a list of nine issue areas. Health care costs came in at the top, with 40% listing that as their No. 1 or No. 2 priority.
Immigration was a close second, with 36% listing it as either their first or second priority. Following that was economy/jobs, at 30%. National security came in fourth on the list, at 22%.
"Typically, economy and jobs have taken the top priority. However, as Americans enjoy a good economy and job market, they are able to shift their attention to other pressing issues such as health care and immigration," said Raghavan Mayur, President of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducts the IBD/TIPP poll.
"Republicans long promised an alternative to ObamaCare, but have failed to pass one," Mayur added. "If Trump can find an acceptable solution, it will enhance his chance of reelection, because it has the potential to attract people outside his base. The ongoing situation at the border keeps the immigration issue in the minds of a large segment of the electorate."
The poll also found that climate change ranks low on the priority scale. Just 17% listed it as either their first or second priority for Congress.
Nor is the public interested in the White House investigations Democrats have vowed to make a priority next year. Only 16% ranked that as something they want Congress to pursue next year. And just 15% listed gun-related issues.
Coming In Last
Interestingly, coming in dead last on the priority list are two areas where a bipartisan agreement between Trump and House Democrats is the most likely: infrastructure and criminal justice reform.
Thirteen percent listed infrastructure as a top priority, and just listed 10% criminal justice reform. Both Trump and Democrats say they want to boost spending on roads and bridges. And Trump has signaled that he's willing to work with Democrats on a justice reform bill.
There are some clear partisan differences in the priority list.
For Republicans, immigration came in first (57% ranked it as a either a first or second priority). That's followed by economy/jobs (41%), and by national security (39%).
For Democrats, health care costs ranked at the top (45% named it their first or second priority). That's followed by "investigating the White House," (30%) and "gun-related issues" (at 27%). And despite Democrats' harping on the issue, climate change comes in fourth on the list of priorities (at 25%).
Just 9% of Democrats listed national security as a top issue. And just 2% of Republicans said that White House investigations should be a priority.
Among independents, health care tops the list (41%), followed by immigration (34%) and economy/jobs (32%).
Trump Approval Ratings
While Trump's approval rating dropped slightly, his favorability remained largely unchanged. Forty percent say they have a favorable view of Trump's leadership, with 53% saying it's unfavorable. That -13 rating is slight improvement from last month, when Trump's net favorability was -14.
The broader IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index dropped 2.7% this month. This exclusive index includes results that measure Trump on leadership, job approval and favorability.
However, 45% gave Trump top marks on his handling of the economy. But only 39% gave him top marks on his handling of the situation on the southern border.
Other IBD/TIPP Poll Findings
- 44% are satisfied with the direction of the country, while 55% are dissatisfied. That's down from last month, which saw 46% satisfied and 52% dissatisfied.
- 53% say the economy is improving, which is down from last month, when 56% said it was improving.
- But 62% say they are concerned that the economy won't be able to maintain its current level of performance over the next six month, with 31% saying they are very concerned and 31% somewhat concerned. Thirty-seven percent say they're not concerned.
- The IBD/TIPP Financial Stress Index improved a little. It's now at 52.4. Anything over 50 indicates stress. The index has averaged 52.4 under Trump. It averaged 57.7 during President Obama's last term in office. The overall average since IBD/TIPP started tracking financial stress in December 2007 is 59.1.
Methodology: IBD/TIPP conducted the latest poll from November 26 to December 2. It includes responses from 823 adults nationwide, who were asked questions by live interviewers on phones. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.3 percentage points. (Toplines from the poll will be posted here later this week.)
The IBD/TIPP Poll has been credited as being the most accurate poll in the past four presidential elections, and was one of only two that correctly predicted the outcome of the November 2016 presidential election.
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