My favorite is one done by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News (a few screens down from the top of the page). It forces people into choosing one area that should be the top priority of the federal government. Here are the high points:
- Health care has dropped from a high of 21 percent to 12 percent.
- The deficit and government spending has dropped from a high of 19 percent to 13 percent.
- Job creation remains high, with the latest number at 38 percent (up from 30 percent).
- National security inched up, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remained stable.
How accurate are people in identifying the most pressing issues? That's unanswerable. From a political standpoint, the public is completely accurate because you want to spin and position yourself to exploit or answer those concerns. From a longterm perspective, the public is probably no better and no worse than your average journalist or politician.