By Vicki Needham - 05/27/14 01:25 PM EDT
The nation’s long-term fiscal health remains a top concern that voters want their elected officials to tackle, a new poll showed on Tuesday.
Overall, 81 percent said that President Obama and Congress should spend more time dealing with the national debt issue, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s May fiscal confidence index showed.
About 60 percent say the White House and lawmakers should be spending a lot more time on it.
All told, the May confidence index came in at 44, 100 is neutral, reflecting negative feelings. April’s value was 43 while March was 47.
A clear majority of voters in three parties say more time should be spent on the issue — Democrats (71 percent), Independents (81 percent) and Republicans (93 percent).
"It’s clear that voters recognize that our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges remain and want Washington to deal with it," said Michael Peterson, president and COO of the Peterson Foundation.
"Americans understand that an improved fiscal outlook is central to building economic growth and shared prosperity, now and in the future."
Concern about the national debt has risen — the total index score was 37 on the 100 scale — with 70 percent saying their concern has increased at various levels. Within the category, 64 percent say the nation is on the wrong track in handling the debt issue.
Looking at the debt as a priority that leaders must address — 79 percent say it should be one of the top three priorities for elected officials.
The priority component was 25, reflecting deep pessimism.
Expectations and progress on the debt is 70, where 64 percent think the debt issue is going to get worse. By a thin 47 to 46 margin, respondents said that the United States will be able to make progress on the debt.
The nationwide poll included 1,005 registered voters, surveyed by telephone between May 19-22.