2023: The Public’s Priorities and Expectations

The economy – and specifically inflation – are the public’s top policy priorities. Republicans cite immigration as their top concern, for Democrats, the most important issue is the environment and climate change.

Public Use Files

January 1, 2022

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing the highest inflation in years, economic issues are topping the public’s agenda for the federal government in the coming year. Inflation continues to be a major concern going into the new year, but fewer mention gas prices as a top issue compared to June 2022. Most Americans do not expect things to get better in the upcoming year.

To explore the public’s agenda for 2023, The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a poll in December 2022, in which respondents provided up to five volunteered issues that they believe should be priorities for the federal government in 2023.

Immigration remains a major priority and climate change is mentioned more frequently as a priority than it was in June. Mentions of education have remained basically unchanged over the last several years. Crime and violence are another high-ranking priority area, though gun issues are not mentioned as often.

Both Democrats and Republicans cite economic issues as top priorities, but their top issues diverge from there. Democrats are most concerned about climate change and guns, while Republicans tend to prioritize immigration and inflation.

While the public has a wide-ranging agenda for the federal government, they are not confident that it will be able to address these concerns. Seventy-three percent have very little confidence in the ability of the federal government to make progress on important issues facing the country, including 39% who are not confident at all.

The nationwide poll was conducted December 1-5, 2022, 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 1,124 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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