Nearly one in five U.S. voters named the economy as their top concern in the election year, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
When asked what single issue the next U.S. president should focus on when he or she takes office in January next year, 19 percent of voters said the economy is their top priority, the election benchmark survey found.
Other issues they frequently mentioned included immigration (14 percent), healthcare and healthcare reform (10 percent), defense and homeland security (9 percent) and education (8 percent).
The issues were followed by the federal deficit and budget (7 percent), wages and the decline of the middle class (6 percent), jobs and unemployment (6 percent) and terrorism (5 percent). Only 2 percent of voters attached top importance to issues such as gun control, uniting Americans, the environment, pollution and moral issues.
Americans' responses to this open-ended question are similar to those obtained in January, showing that the issues on which the public wants the next president to focus haven't changed after five additional months of intense campaigning, said Gallop analyst Frank Newport.
The next U.S. president will clearly need to keep a sustained focus on economic issues while facing the challenge of responding to other public concerns such as keeping the nation safe and secure, immigration, healthcare and education, said Newport.
The survey interviewed 1,530 adults via landlines and cellphones between May 18 and 22, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points