But as we’ll discuss first in our look at the week of politics that was, Americans are not as worried about the state of the economy as Republicans perhaps wish they were.
An examination of historical data reveals, however, that the percentage of Americans who currently say that economic issues represent the most important problem is about average for elections since 1988.
In August, 37% of adults said that an economic problem was most important. No single non-economic issue came close to topping that. “The government/Poor leadership” category was closest at 20%. Since March, somewhere between 35% and 40% of Americans have named some type of economic issue (e.g., inflation) as the top problem.
Of course, I was brought up under the belief that elections are about “the economy stupid.” So I wanted to see how this year’s findings compare with Americans’ views ahead of earlier elections. I had Gallup pull for me the closest data to Election Day for every election they could. They gave me midterm- and presidential-year data for their poll going back to 1988.
What amazed me was that, on average, 39% said an economic problem was the most important. That is, the economy is no more an issue this year than it has been in other years since 1988, despite how high inflation currently is.
Indeed, the Gallup data from this year found that a collective 66% of Americans said the top problem was a non-economic one. Even if no issue individually came close to the economy, in total non-economic issues far eclipsed economic concerns.
Democrats, in the CNN poll, held a more-than-30-point advantage among those who picked something other than the economy as what they wanted candidates for Congress to speak about most.
That’s good news for Democrats.
It’s possible that economic concerns will rise in the final weeks before Election Day. With each passing day, though, an election a lot of us thought would be mostly about the economy seems like it will be about a lot more.
Americans want same-sex marriage legal federally
Make no mistake: Reversing that 2015 decision would be extremely unpopular with the American public. On the other hand, recent efforts by Congress to pass legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage federally are quite popular.
Polls show, however, that a majority of Americans do want Congress to codify same-sex marriage federally. My average of polls shows that somewhere around 55% of Americans do, with about 30% opposed.
That would explain why Congress seems willing to do exactly that. A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage has already passed the House. The Senate has delayed taking a vote over same-sex marriage legislation until after the midterms, though passage there seems likely too.
It would mark quite the turnaround from the mid-1990s when Congress passed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act that, for federal purposes, defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages granted by other states.
For your brief encounters: Indiana Jones is coming back
The top choice was Indiana Jones at 25%. He beat out Ferris Bueller at 14%, Carrie Bradshaw (from “Sex in the City”) at 12% and Don Corleone (from “The Godfather”) at 11%.
My only question is what type of person would admit to wanting to be a mobster for a day?