WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After a campaign season of unprecedented expense and duration, taming the federal budget and avoiding the fiscal cliff top America's to-do list for President Obama and Congress, according to poll results announced today by The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) and National Journal. But in contrast to Washington's near exclusive focus on the budgetary standoff, the public expresses nearly equal concern about an array of other economic challenges, including the availability of jobs, Medicare and Social Security; quality of education; and rising costs of college and health care. [Watch a live briefing on the latest Heartland Monitor Poll TODAY at 8:30 a.m., ET at http://www.nationaljournal.com/events.] The 15th quarterly Allstate- National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll explores the public's economic priorities and concerns in the election's aftermath and their attitudes toward competing approaches to address these problems. The survey also finds that Americans are more positive about the direction of the country than they have been in quite some time; however, they remain skeptical of Washington's ability to effectively work together and address the nation's current challenges. For the fourth Heartland Monitor poll in a row, the "Right Direction" metric increased and it is now at its highest level since the series' first poll in April 2009 (41% believe the country is heading in the right direction, compared to 50% who believe it's on the wrong track). However, Americans are less optimistic about their personal financial situation, led largely by Republicans who are likely unhappy about the election result. Looking ahead to the next four years, Americans expect both sides to make compromises to get more done, though they are not sold on the reality of this happening. Less than half (43%) of respondents think it's likely that, over the next four years, the President and Congress will work together more than they did in the previous four, and there's considerable doubt about the budget situation improving.