Dems want financial reform; GOPs, indies prefer immigration

As the Senate began consideration of a bill to overhaul the regulations that govern Wall Street, Democrats said financial reform should be the top priority for Congress while independents and Republicans think immigration is the most important issue. 

A near majority of Democrats ranked financial regulatory reform first -- 47 percent -- whereas 45 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of independents said immigration should be the legislative focus for Congress when asked about three issues, according to a poll released Friday by Gallup. 

Overall, Americans are split on which issue is most important for Congress with 39 percent saying financial reform and 36 percent ranking immigration as the top concern. 

The Senate is expected to spend the next couple of weeks working on financial regulatory reform and is then likely to turn to immigration, an emotional issue that failed to gain enough support for passage in 2006. Senators unveiled immigration legislation this week. 

Independents and Republicans -- at 33 percent and 37 percent respectively -- said a revamping of the financial system should be the priority. 

Democrats ranked energy and climate legislation second -- 27 percent -- and immigration third, at 24 percent. 

Americans are less concerned about the environment right now with only 21 percent saying it should be the top item.