Foreign policy becomes top priority for Americans in 2024 AP-NORC poll reveals 

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By Carina

A recent poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research indicates a notable shift in the concerns of Americans, with foreign policy and immigration gaining prominence as focal points for the U.S. government in 2024. 

The poll, conducted in December, highlights critical findings related to these evolving priorities among the public.

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Foreign policy dominates discussions among Americans 

Approximately 40% of U.S. adults responding to an open-ended question identified foreign policy topics as issues they believe the government should address in the coming year. 

This represents a significant increase from the previous year, with twice as many participants mentioning foreign policy in the latest poll. 

The conflict between Israel and Hamas, along with the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, emerged as specific concerns among respondents.

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Growing unease about U.S. overseas involvement

The poll reveals a noteworthy rise in concern about U.S. involvement overseas, with 20% expressing unease—four times the figure reported in the previous year. 

The Israeli-Hamas conflict, in particular, has contributed to heightened anxiety, mentioned by 5% of participants compared to almost no mentions a year ago. 

Additionally, the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to be a consideration for 4% of respondents.

Foreign policy has become a critical issue for respondents across party lines. 

Foreign policy gains top priority in 2024 for Republicans, Democrats

The poll shows a substantial increase in Republicans and Democrats, highlighting foreign policy as a top priority for the government in 2024. 

While 46% of Republicans emphasized this, up from 23% the previous year, Democrats also exhibited a notable rise, with 34% naming foreign policy as a focal point compared to 16% in the prior poll.

The issue of immigration has seen a bipartisan increase in significance, with overall concerns climbing from 27% to 35% compared to the previous year. 

Most Republicans (55%) now view immigration as a priority, a notable increase from 45% in December 2022. Democrats, too, registered an uptick, with 22% considering immigration an important issue, up from 14% the previous year.

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Economy Remains a Dominant Concern

While foreign policy and immigration have gained prominence, the economy remains a dominant concern for most respondents. 

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Approximately 76% of U.S. adults want the government to focus on economic issues in 2024. 

This sentiment is consistent with the figures from the previous year, indicating the sustained priority placed on economic matters.

Varied perspectives on economic priorities

Within economic concerns, specific priorities differ between Republicans and Democrats. 

Republicans are more likely to emphasize inflation (41% vs. 22%) and government spending or debt (22% vs. 7%) as areas requiring government attention. 

However, both parties overwhelmingly agree on the importance of addressing economic issues.

Despite positive economic indicators such as low unemployment and falling inflation rates, the poll suggests a persistently gloomy economic outlook. 

Additional insights on personal finances and confidence in government

Approximately 85% of Republicans and 65% of Democrats cite the economy as a top issue, indicating a shared concern across party lines.

The poll touches on personal finance issues, indicating a slight decline in overall mentions compared to the previous year. 

The economy continues to be a top concern for 18- to 29-year-olds, along with inflation and personal finance matters. 

Additionally, the survey reveals varying confidence levels in the federal government’s ability to address important problems, with only 5% expressing high confidence.

Divergent views and political skepticism over 2024

Approximately one-quarter of U.S. adults believe 2024 will be a better year than 2023, while 24% expect it to be worse. 

The outlook is divided along party lines, with 37% of Republicans anticipating a worse year compared to 20% of independents and 13% of Democrats.

Political disillusionment is evident among participants like Travis Brown, a 32-year-old forklift operator, who expressed doubts about the effectiveness of aid to overseas allies. 

Changing priorities and voter hesitation: Insights from AP-NORC poll 2024

Brown suggests a need for increased focus on domestic concerns. 

Furthermore, a sense of disillusionment with political choices is reflected in the expressed hesitation of some respondents, like Brown, to participate in the upcoming presidential election.

The AP-NORC poll highlights shifting priorities among Americans, with increased attention on foreign policy, immigration, and continued economic concerns. 

The findings offer insights into the evolving perspectives and priorities of the U.S. public as the country approaches 2024.

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