State of the Union 2024: How Americans view 10 major issues

President Joe Biden delivered his third State of the Union address, his last before the 2024 election. In this special edition newsletter, here’s a look at public opinion on some of the key issues facing the country.

Immigration: 78% of Americans describe the large number of migrants at the southern border as either a crisis or a major problem. And 80% – including majorities in both parties – say the government is doing a bad job dealing with the situation. Large shares of the public express support for increasing the number of asylum judges and staff, increasing deportations, and other proposals.

Economy: Americans remain worried about high prices: 72% say they are very concerned about the price of food and consumer goods, and 64% say the same about the cost of housing. About half say they are very concerned about gas and energy prices.

Crime: Both Republicans and Democrats have become more concerned about crime since the beginning of Biden’s term. About seven-in-ten Republicans (68%) say reducing crime should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, compared with 47% of Democrats.

Climate: Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say that dealing with climate change should be a policy priority this year (59% vs. 12%). Even so, there’s bipartisan support for prioritizing the development of renewable energy sources over expanding fossil fuel production. And 74% of Americans support U.S. participation in international efforts to reduce the effects of climate change.

Israel-Hamas war: Majorities of Americans say the Israel-Hamas war is important to U.S. interests (75%) and to themselves personally (65%). Meanwhile, 35% approve of the Biden administration’s response to the war, while 41% disapprove and 24% are not sure, according to a survey conducted in late 2023.

Ukraine: Democrats are more likely than Republicans to describe the war in Ukraine as important to U.S. interests (81% vs. 69%). And in a late 2023 survey, about half of Republicans (48%) said the U.S. was giving too much support to Ukraine, while just 16% of Democrats said the same.

China: In an open-ended question, more Americans name China than any other country as the greatest threat to the United States. Of those who hold this view, nearly all say China poses at least a fair amount of threat to the U.S. economy and national security. Americans also broadly see Chinese technological achievements as outpacing those of the U.S., according to a separate survey.

Money in politics: Reducing the influence of money in politics is a policy priority for 65% of Democrats and 60% of Republicans this year. Majorities in both parties say major campaign donors, lobbyists and special interest groups have too much influence over congressional decision-making.

Partisan polarization: 57% of Americans say disagreements between Democrats and Republicans receive too much attention, while 78% say important issues facing the country receive too little. And 86% agree with the statement “Republicans and Democrats are more focused on fighting each other than on solving problems.”

Artificial intelligence: 52% of U.S. adults are more concerned than excited about the growing role of AI in daily life. By and large, Americans back regulation and oversight of emerging AI technologies – including chatbots and driverless vehicles – and are divided on the impact of technology companies.

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