- The Washington Times - Monday, January 4, 2016

Americans named government as the top problem facing the country in 2015, choosing that issue over the economy, unemployment, immigration and other issues, according to survey results released Monday.

An average of 16 percent of Americans in 2015 said some aspect of government — such as President Obama, Congress or political conflict — was the country’s top problem, according to Gallup.

It’s the second straight year that Americans picked government as the top problem, after the economy was No. 1 for six straight years and Iraq was No. 1 for four straight years before that.

In 2015 the economy was second at 13 percent, followed by unemployment and immigration at 8 percent apiece.

In 2014 the government was in first at 18 percent, followed by the economy at 17 percent, unemployment at 15 percent and health care at 10 percent.

Last year, health care was at 6 percent, followed by ethics/moral decline, race relations/racism, terrorism, federal budget deficit/federal debt and education at 5 percent apiece.

It was only the second time since 2001 that no single issue averaged 20 percent or more for the year, though 34 percent named at least one of several economic issues like the economy, unemployment and the budget deficit.

Gallup’s Lydia Saad wrote the lack of one prominent public concern provides an interesting setup to the 2016 presidential election.

“This contrasts with the last three presidential election cycles when at least one issue commanded significant public attention in the year prior to the election,” she wrote. “In 2011, for example, the dominant issues were the economy and unemployment; in 2007, the Iraq War; and in 2003, the economy. Those concerns provided a clear framework for the campaigns, something that is thus far lacking in the race for 2016,” she wrote.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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