Climate Change, Guns Ranked Lowest Among American Concerns in 2016

Brittany M. Hughes | December 20, 2016
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Climate change and guns were tied among the issues that Americans ranked lowest in importance in 2016, according to a new poll out from Gallup.

The polling group's annual survey ranks the issues Americans say are of the most importance to them each month throughout the year, ultimately averaging the responses out for an annual yearly estimate. While public opinion on most of the 25 issues listed on the poll varied from month to month, "the environment" ranked consistently low in national importance for most Americans throughout the entire year.

According to Gallup’s data, only two percent of Americans listed “the environment” as their top national concern. Likewise, only two percent cited “guns” as their No. 1 issue. Other issues tied for lowest in importance included the "gap between the rich and the poor," "foreign aid" and "the judicial system."

On the other end of the wide spectrum, "the economy" was listed as the issue of most importance by a plurality of Americans, as 16 percent of those polled said it was their top concern. “The government” came in second at 13 percent, while "unemployment/jobs" came in third at nine percent.

The issue of immigration placed fifth in the rankings, with seven percent of respondents listing it as their top issue.

If Gallup's poll is indeed an accurate indication of American public opinion, then it offers a stunningly clear explanation of November’s presidential election results, when Republican nominee Donald Trump handily beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton after running on a platform of increased border security, promised jobs and a purge of government corruption. While liberal talking points over the past year have included tighter gun control measures and using billions in taxpayer funding to fight climate change, Trump touted bringing back American jobs, rebuilding the U.S. economy and controlling our porous border as his top priorities – priorities that appear to line up hand-in-hand with the opinions of most Americans.

Whether a Trump administration will offer tangible solutions to these issues remains to be seen; however, one thing remains very clear: most Americans care much more about their ability to pay their bills than they do about climate fear tactics or attacks on the Second Amendment, and the disparity is reflected in their votes.