2024: The public’s priorities and expectations

January 1, 2024

Foreign policy issues top the public’s agenda for 2024, followed by economic concerns. Education, the environment and climate change, and health care continue to be major concerns. Most Americans do not expect things to get better for themselves or the country in the upcoming year.

To explore the public’s agenda for 2024, The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a poll in December 2023, in which respondents provided up to five volunteered issues that they believe should be priorities for the federal government in 2024.

With ongoing wars in Ukraine and Gaza, foreign policy has risen to prominence as a major concern compared to previous years. And after several near misses of a government shutdown in 2023, the debt limit and government spending has become a major priority for 2024.

Democrats and Republicans cite immigration,  other foreign policy issues, and inflation as a top priority, but their top issues diverge from there. Democrats are concerned about climate change and the environment, education, and health care reform, while Republicans put the economy in general and government debt in their top five.

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-one percent have little confidence in the ability of the federal government to make progress on important issues facing the country in 2024, including 40% who are not confident at all.

The nationwide poll was conducted November 30-December 4, 2023 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 1,074 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

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