Government Remains Top Problem for U.S.

Government Remains Top Problem for U.S.

Government Remains Top Problem for U.S.

The FINANCIAL -- WASHINGTON, D.C.. Americans remain most likely to say the government is the greatest problem facing the U.S., with 20% naming some aspect of the federal government or its elected leaders as the nation's top problem.

This month's figure is on the lower end of the 18% to 25% range of Americans who have seen government as the country's top problem since President Donald Trump took office last year. It was a bit lower than that for the three years prior.

The latest figures come from Gallup's Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 1-10.

Background: Americans have been most likely to cite government dysfunction or poor performance by specific elected leaders as the top U.S. problem for 17 months in a row, though it has shared the top spot twice in that time -- with the economy at 11% in January 2017 and with healthcare at 18% in May 2017. Government as the top national problem garnered even greater percentages during and after the federal government shutdown in 2013 -- receiving 33% of mentions in October and 26% of mentions in November of that year. Before 2013, this issue had not hit the 20% threshold since 1974.

Immigration has been the second most frequently named problem for four of the past five months. One in 10 Americans (10%) name immigration as the top problem facing the U.S., which is within the 8% to 15% range for this issue thus far in 2018.

Seven percent of Americans name racism or race relations as the top U.S. problem. This issue has received 7% or 8% of all mentions each month since December 2017, though it was a bit higher in the fall -- ranging between 10% and 14% from September to November.

Guns or gun control as the top problem has returned to pre-Parkland levels. The percentage of Americans naming guns or gun control as the nation's most important problem spiked after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, rising from 1% in January to 13% in March. This issue fell back to 6% by April and is now at 3%.

The fourth-highest concern is a tie among four issues. One in 20 Americans name the economy (5%), unifying the country (5%), ethics and moral decline (5%) and interpersonal conflict in society such as lack of respect, hatred and greed (5%).