Earlier this week I ran a vox pop on President Obama’s focus in his second term. There were just 2 questions – firstly what his focus should be and secondly what his focus will be – and the options to choose from for both questions were identical and were as follows:
o Nuclear proliferation
o Climate change
o Debt reduction
o Economic growth
o Educational improvements
o Deficit reduction
o Gun control
o Gay marriage
o Improving relations with Republicans in Congress
o Closing Guantanamo Bay
o Immigration Reform
o Israeli-Palestinian peace process
o Wealth polarisation in the US
Respondents were able to select as many options as they wish.
Gun control topped the list in both questions – closely followed by economic growth. It would be interesting to see if gun control would have featured so prominently prior to the deadly attack on the school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Debt reduction came 3rd in the “should” question while deficit reduction came 3rd in the “will”. People think the President will be less ambitious on the debt issue than he should be.
At the other end of the scale, the issues that people think the President will focus least on are nuclear proliferation and Syria. That Syria result in particular surprised me with the recent attention the Civil War there has been receiving – and the potential threat of chemical and biological weapons.
In contrast, what people think the President should focus least on are gay marriage and Iran.
One other comment is worth noting : On 12 of the 16 issues people think that the President will focus less on issues than he should. It would be interesting to explore why this is the case!
In closing, as is the norm in vox pops, the sample size was small – so don’t draw any firm conclusions from these results!