State of the Union 2018: Americans’ views on key issues facing the nation

Source: Pew Research Center

President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30 in the House of Representatives chamber at the U.S. Capitol. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30 in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol. (Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday – a speech that millions of Americans will watch closely. Earlier this month, about three-in-ten (31%) said in a Pew Research Center survey that this year’s speech is “more important” than those in past years, compared with 18% who said it is less important (43% said it’s about as important as past State of the Union addresses). Here is a look at public opinion on important issues facing the country, drawn from the Center’s recent surveys:

1The economy and jobs: Americans’ views of economic conditions are more positive than they have been in recent years. An October survey found 41% of Americans rating economic conditions in the country as “excellent” or “good,” near the highest point in a decade. The public’s improving economic outlook is reflected in its policy agenda for Trump and Congress in the coming year. Economic issues – improving the job situation, strengthening the economy and reducing the budget deficit – are now viewed as less important policy priorities than they were just a few years ago, according to a survey conducted earlier this month.

The public’s view of local job availability has also improved substantially in recent years. In October, half of Americans said there are plenty of jobs available in their communities – the highest assessment in Pew Research Center surveys dating to 2001. Despite the public’s brighter outlook on jobs, however, there has been little change in the share of Americans (49%) who say their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living.

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