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Positive Outlook On Obama's Second Term As Inauguration Day Approaches

Independents, typically expected to fall between Republicans and Democrats, in many cases show stronger affiliation with one party or another, depending on the issue.

Independents' priorities resemble those of Republicans for:

  • Jobs (49% Republican, 39% Democrat, 48% Independent),
  • Immigration (18%-9%-16%) and
  • Gun control (10%-26%-8%).

Priority levels are more closely aligned with Democrats on:

  • Education (8% Republican, 19% Democrat, 19% Independent) and
  • The environment (3%-9%-11%).

When asked, unprompted, to name the one issue or concern they felt was the most important for Obama and his administration to address, after the economy, healthcare was the top response at nearly 1 in 5 adults (17%):

  • Healthcare (17%),
  • Jobs/Unemployment (10%),
  • National debt/deficit/government spending (8%),
  • Gun control (7%).

Women are more likely to prioritize healthcare above all other issues, at 21% as compared with 13% for men. Finally, results show marked changes since January 2009 in several key issues:

  • Healthcare is down slightly (21% to 17%),
  • Jobs/unemployment mentions have doubled (5% to 10%),
  • National debt/deficit/government spending has gone from an also-ran (1%) to the third most frequent mention (8%) and
  • Gun control related comments have gone from negligible mentions in 2009 to Americans' fourth highest current priority (<1% to 7%).

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 7 and 9, 2013 among 2,166 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

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