BOSTON (CBS) — Every year, the Gallup poll asks Americans to rank the issues they worry about most. But the way those issues have changed over time may surprise you.
These poll results are always a reflection of the times we’re living in, and over the years the economy has usually topped the list. In 2008, for instance, with the economy in freefall, 69 percent of those surveyed cited economic issues as their chief concern; the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the only other issue to hit double figures.
But with an economic boom underway, only 34 percent now tell Gallup they worry a great deal about the economy. And that has made way for some other issues to take center stage.
This latest survey was taken in early March, just a couple of weeks after the Parkland, Florida school massacre. And while gun violence and gun control issues have traditionally struggled to make the list of top issues, that has changed, at least for now. Fifty-one percent in the new Gallup poll cited guns as a major concern, tied for second place.
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What about the Trump/Russia probe, the Stormy Daniels case, and other high-profile Trump-era stories? They’re nowhere to be seen.
The Gallup survey does find 51 percent very concerned about runaway government spending and the budget deficit, with 40 percent worried about the size and power of the federal government. But those so-called “scandal” issues didn’t make the list.
So what did they find was the number one issue people worry about? Nuclear war? The opioid crisis?
Drug use is a major concern to 45 percent. But the big “winner” was health care, its availability and affordability. Americans have been anxious about that for a long time, and neither Obamacare nor the Republican efforts to repeal it have seemed to ease much of that anxiety.