Moscow is far behind the US government, inflation, the economy, and immigration among major concerns, a new survey shows less than 1% of Americans listed Russia as the top problem facing the US during the second half of 2022, according to a Gallup poll published on Tuesday. The survey revealed that the chief issue for most respondents is the nation’s own government.
An average of 19% of those surveyed throughout 2022 rated “government” as the “most important problem,” followed by “inflation” (16%) and “the economy” (12%).
The percentage of Americans viewing Russia as the primary issue facing the country did jump from 2% to 9% from February to March following the launch of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, but that figure had dipped back to 5% by April, and it has remained at 1% or below for the last five months, even as Washington pumped tens of billions of dollars into military aid for Kiev.
The US government has dominated Gallup’s “most important problem” polling for most of the last decade, only briefly being dislodged in 2020 by the Covid-19 pandemic. The disease regained some of the public’s attention in early 2022, having been mentioned by 20% of respondents in January.
However, on average it failed to surpass the leaders in Washington and has not cracked 1% for over six months, leaving it in sixth place in the year’s overall list of issues – behind immigration and “unifying the country.”
Americans are on the whole less satisfied with the direction of their country than they have been since 2011, with just 18% expressing optimism about where things are going. This is just the fourth time since 1979 that national satisfaction has dipped below 20%. According to Gallup, this year’s decline was largely driven by a 14-point drop in outlook among Democrats, only 31% of whom now view the country’s trajectory positively.
Republicans’ outlook, already bleak following the inauguration of President Joe Biden last year, has further declined – just 4% now see a positive future for the US. Those not backing either of the two parties have also seen their optimism drop to the point where just 19% are now satisfied with the country’s direction.
Despite this dismal outlook among the electorate, last month’s midterm elections did not hand Republicans control of Congress, though the party did win a majority in the House of Representatives. Biden’s approval ratings have remained at 40% as of this month.