A new report just published by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) "Anxiety, Nostalgia and Mistrust"
Health Care, Terrorism, and Jobs Most Critical Issues
When asked what issues are most important to them personally, Americans are more likely to
cite health care (63%), terrorism (62%), and jobs and unemployment (60%) than any other issue.
A majority (53%) of Americans report that crime is a critical issue to them personally. Slightly fewer
say the cost of education (49%), economic inequality (48%), and immigration (46%) are critical
issues. Fewer Americans say that race relations (39%), climate change (34%), abortion (34%),
religious liberty (31%), and same-sex marriage (25%) are critical issues.
Strong majorities of both Democrats and Republicans name health care (71% and 61%, respectively)
and jobs and unemployment (66% and 59%, respectively) as critical issues. However,
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to name the cost of education (62% vs. 33% respectively)
and the growing gap between the rich and the poor (62% vs. 29%, respectively) as critical
issues. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to name terrorism (79% vs. 53%, respectively)
and immigration (59% vs. 43%, respectively) as critical issues.
However, even among Republicans, the importance of immigration varies. On no issue do the supporters
of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump differ more from those supporting other
Republican candidates than on the issue of immigration. Nearly seven in ten (69%) Trump supporters
say that immigration is a critical issue to them personally. In contrast, only half (50%) of those who
support other Republican candidates say that the issue of immigration is critically important to them.
The Bush/Clinton Dynasty Dilemma
Although Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton each entered the 2016 campaign with considerable assets,
their famous last names may not be among them. Most (54%) Americans say that electing
another president from the “Bush” or “Clinton” family would be bad for the country, while 45%
disagree. The dynasty dilemma is a bigger problem for Bush than for Clinton. More than six in ten
(61%) Republicans—including 64% of likely Republican primary voters—and nearly seven in ten
(69%) Tea Party members say that electing another Bush or Clinton would be bad for the country,
compared to 42% of Democrats overall and 39% of likely Democratic primary voters.
The Declining Tea Party Movement
The proportion of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement has declined by nearly
half over the last five years, from 11% in 2010 to 6% today. Tea Party affiliation has also dropped
among Republicans, from 22% in 2010 to 14% today. Favorable views of the Tea Party have
dropped 10 percentage points over the last year, from 35% in 2014 to 25% today. A majority
(57%) of Americans currently hold an unfavorable view of the group, up from 46% last year. The
decline of Tea Party favorability is pronounced among Republicans (58% in 2014 vs. 45% today),
independents (35% in 2014 vs. 27% today), and Democrats (18% in 2014 vs. 12% today).