The FINANCIAL — Just eight percent (8%) of voters nationwide currently rate national security issues such as the War on Terror as their top voting issue, says Rasmussen Reports.
That’s down from 20% on Election Day 2008 when Barack Obama was elected and down from 41% on Election Day 2004 when George W. Bush was reelected.
The relative unimportance of national security issues helps explain why President Obama’s overall job approval rating showed little lasting change despite overwhelmingly positive reviews for the mission that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.
Rasmussen Reports tracking data shows that 46% now rate the economy as their top voting issue, a figure that has remained fairly constant during Obama’s time in office. When Bush was reelected in 2004, just 26% rated the economy as their top issue. The importance of economic issues grew when the recession arrived. Daily consumer tracking shows that the number of Americans who rate their own personal finances as good or excellent has fallen since Obama’s inauguration and even more sharply since the fall of 2008.
As interest in national security matters has declined, the importance of fiscal issues such as taxes and government spending has increased. On Election Day 2004, only four percent (4%) rated fiscal policy issues as most important. At the time Obama wrapped up the Democratic nomination process in June 2008, the number focused on fiscal policy issues had grown to seven percent (7%). By the time the current president was elected, 11% rated fiscal policy issues as most important, a figure that has now grown to 18%.
The importance of fiscal policy matters was fairly stable from the time Obama was elected until his stimulus package was introduced in February 2009. Then, interest in tax-and-spend issues grew steadily for about a year before stabilizing for most of 2010 and the early months of 2011.
Domestic issues such as Social Security and health care were seen as most important by 11% on Election Night 2004 and at the time Obama took office. Fifteen percent (15%) now say those are the most important issues.
As the Reports says, cultural issues like same-sex marriage and abortion remain at the bottom of the list with just four percent (4%) who regard them as most important. That’s down from 10% on Election Night 2004 but little changed in recent years.
There are many different ways to ask about the importance of issues. Rasmussen Reports asks separately about the importance of individual issues on a regular basis. No matter how the topic is addressed, economic issues remain the top concern.
Rasmussen Reports also routinely asks which political party is trusted more on 10 key issues.
Source: Rasmussen Reports