State of the Union 2019: How Americans see major national issues

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech, after weeks of delay, amid a debate between Trump and congressional Democrats over border security and expanding the border wall – one that recently led to the longest federal government shutdown in history.

As per Pew Research, here’s a look at public opinion on important issues facing the country, drawn from Pew Research Center’s recent surveys.

  1. The U.S.-Mexico border wall. A majority of Americans continue to oppose substantially expanding the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Republican support for the wall is at a record high and Democratic support is at a new low.
  2. Immigration. A majority of Americans say they are not too or not at all confident in Trump’s ability to make wise decisions about immigration policy. Still, around half of U.S. adults say immigration should be a top priority for Trump and Congress this year.
  3. Partisan cooperation. Most Americans said in a November survey that they’d like to see cooperation between Trump and Congress. Yet more recently, seven-in-ten Democrats say Democratic leaders should stand up to Trump on certain issues, even if less gets done in Washington; Republicans are more divided on whether or not Trump should stand up to Democrats and risk disappointing his supporters. Americans are deeply pessimistic about chances that partisan cooperation will improve in the coming year.
  4. Mueller investigation. A majority of Americans say they are confident that special counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a fair investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. There is less public confidence in Trump on the issue. Views of the investigation and Trump’s handling of the matter remain deeply divided by party.
  5. Tariffs and trade. Americans’ views of recent tariffs between the United States and some of its trading partners tilt more negative than positive, according to a summer 2018 survey. About half of Americans are confident in Trump’s ability to negotiate favorable trade agreements with other countries.
  6. The economy. Strengthening the economy continues to rank as a top issue for the public overall, as well as for majorities in both parties. About half of Americans are at least somewhat confident in Trump’s ability to make good decisions about economic policy.
  7. Foreign policy. A majority of Americans say terrorism should be a top priority this year, though this differs greatly by party. Looking at foreign conflicts, the U.S. public is divided over withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and many do not think Trump has a clear plan for dealing with the situation there.
  8. Climate change. Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to say protecting the environment and global climate change should be top priorities for the president and Congress this year.
  9. Health care. About seven-in-ten Americans say reducing health care costs should be a top policy priority, including majorities in both parties.
  10. Race relations. This year, 46% of Americans say addressing race relations should be a top priority for Trump and Congress. This includes a majority of Democrats but only a third of Republicans.
  11. Gender issues. Registered voters who supported Democratic candidates in 2018 were much more likely than those supporting Republicans to say sexism is a very big problem in the country, according to a fall 2018 survey. This party divide was wider than the gender gap in views of whether sexism is a serious problem. There are also party gaps in views of gender and leadership, according to a separate survey.

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