By now you’ve probably seen some stories about the latest Gallup poll, which again indicates that more Americans view the government itself as the Nation’s greatest problem over any other issue.
Gallup conducts the polls without itemizing a list of issues from which participants must choose. Rather, the polls are open-ended, soliciting respondents to offer their own thoughts on what America’s problems are.
More interesting than learning that government itself topped the list of evils for the fourth month in a row is that President Barack Obama’s urgent focus on closing the wealth gap in America is barely on anyone’s radar. Simply put, almost no one views income inequality as a problem — especially compared with the overall economy, unemployment, healthcare and, of course, government itself.
As the graph indicates, public concern over hot-button issues fluctuates as the political seasons change. Fretting about the Federal deficit has taken a roller-coaster ride over the past year — depending on how embroiled Washington happened to be in debt-ceiling battles or rhetorical standoffs over spending. But concerns over healthcare have shown a steady rise, particularly after the launch of Obamacare in October.
But Gallup acknowledges that Obama’s push to tackle the wealth gap sets his priorities apart from those of the general public. Even among self-identified Democrats and independents, there just aren’t a lot of people wringing their hands over a lack of income parity in the U.S.
“Four other issues are mentioned by at least 5% of any party group, and of these, the ‘gap between rich and poor’ shows the most disparity [along political allegiances],” the poll summary states. “This issue that President Barack Obama has focused on is cited by 6% of Democrats and 5% of independents, but only 1% of Republicans.”