Poll: Economy remains Americans' top concern

The Pew poll also found that some issues – especially illegal immigration and climate change – did not resonate nearly as much with Americans as they did before Obama took office.

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A quarter of Americans now find climate change a top concern, down from almost four in 10 in 2007. More than half of Americans named illegal immigration a priority that same year, a figure that has now fallen to 39 percent.

On the flip side, giving both the economy a boost and reducing unemployment have become a much larger concern since 2007, the year before the fiscal crisis broke. Roughly seven in ten saw the economy as a top priority that year, while 57 percent said the improving the job situation was a big concern.

As for America’s debt, 84 percent of Republicans now think federal deficits are a big concern, far outpacing Democrats or independents.

According to Pew, exactly half as many Republicans (42 percent) named deficits a big deal five years ago, just as Democrats were taking control of Congress following the 2006 elections. In all, 53 percent of Americans singled out deficits as a big concern in 2007.

Pew also found that roughly six in 10 thought that tax fairness, an issue that the president is expected to discuss in Tuesday’s address to Congress, was a big deal.

About half of Republicans and households making more than $75,000 considered the issue a top priority, well under the two-thirds of Democrats and households making under $75,000 that came to the same conclusion.