Key Democratic policy priorities are slipping in popularity, according to a new poll that measured concerns of Americans.
The poll, conducted in early December by the Associated Press and released Monday, showed that just 37% of Americans want federal lawmakers and officials focused on the COVID-19 pandemic as opposed to one year ago when 53% wanted this.
Instead, the concerns about the economy dwarfed the pandemic, with 68% of poll respondents mentioning it in some way as a top 2022 priority.
A comparable number said the same in 2021, but comments about inflation are substantially higher at 14% this year versus just 1% last year.
Other health-care issues dropped, from 41% of respondents last year wanting Washington to prioritize them to 30% now.
President Biden pledged to “shut down the virus” during his presidential campaign. In his first year in office, he instituted federal vaccine mandates over which the Supreme Court is now deliberating. However, he recently conceded to a group of governors there was “no federal solution” to the pandemic.
Respondents in the AP-NORC poll claimed that while new variants of the virus are spreading fast, recent indications show the effects are far less deadly.
Americans want more focus on other issues this year, including Republicans calling for tightening up immigration laws and Democrats wanting more gun control.
The poll also found that just 15% of Americans, compared to 24% from last year, wanted U.S. lawmakers in Washington to deal with issues pertaining to racism or racial equity, an issue that Mr. Biden addressed on his first day in office when he signed an executive order to focus on racial disparities in the federal government, nonprofits and any other institution that receives federal contracts.
Another issue Democrats have made a top priority but has remained unpopular to most Americans is climate change.
Americans’ desire for the federal government to concentrate on climate change edged down from 21% to 19%.
Mr. Biden honed in on another “crisis” he and his party campaigned on in 2020. On his first day in office, the president signed an executive order revoking the Keystone XL pipeline permit to avoid “threats posed by climate change.”
His multi-trillion dollar social welfare green spending bill includes a provision for electric vehicles to make up half of U.S. auto sales by 2030.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,089 adults was conducted Dec. 2-7, with an error margin of 4.1 percentage points. It allowed respondents to specify more than one issue as something on which the federal government should be focused.