2021: The Public’s Priorities and Expectations

January 19, 2021

Headed into 2021, COVID-19 tops the list of Americans’ priorities for government to address. Health care, in general, and economic issues continue to be high on the public’s agenda as well. Compared to prior years, Americans have more confidence in the government’s ability to make progress on many of the public’s top priorities.

With the election of Joe Biden, Democrats are now more positive about the state of the country and where it’s heading than Republicans.

In order to explore the public’s agenda for 2021, a December 2020 poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research accepted from each respondent up to five volunteered issues they want to see the government address.

In reaction to the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic, economic problems, particularly unemployment, have risen in importance. And mentions of racial and policing issues have increased in the wake of protests against police brutality and racism earlier this year.

There are substantial partisan differences on several high-profile problems, including the importance of immigration, education, and the environment. In addition to differences on what problems should be addressed in the coming year, Republicans and Democrats have conflicting opinions about how things are going in the United States, the condition of the national economy, and where the country is headed.

The nationwide poll was conducted December 3-7, 2020, using the AmeriSpeak Panel®, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,117 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (January, 2021).“2021: The Public’s Priorities and Expectations.” https://apnorc.org/projects/2021-the-publics-priorities-and-expectations/

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