Given five key concerns to choose from, the spike in gas prices topped the list of the Republican Congressional Insiders and it was a close second among Democratic Congressional Insiders. "Everyone is talking about it and it has significantly slowed our nascent economic recovery," said one GOP Congressional Insider.
Unemployment was the issue that Democratic Members said was most on the minds of their constituents. "People may be reminded once or twice per week about outrageously high gas prices when filling up their tanks, but the pain of unemployment is felt every single day," said one Democratic Congressional Insider. "Shockingly, it's not the President's birth certificate," cracked another. "As hard as it is to believe, most people are really more about real issues like whether they or their neighbors have a job."
But Republican Members said that the national debt was the runner-up issue for their constituents. "In town hall after town hall during district break, these dangerous deficits were topic number one," said one GOP Congressional Insider. "The debt-deficit issues have generated more anger and impatience with the Washington establishment than anything I have ever seen except Obamacare," echoed another.
Notwithstanding many news stories about Medicare generating a lot of heat back home during the Easter-Passover congressional recess, that issue ranked third on the list of Democratic Members' constituent concerns and it didn't even rise to a top concern cited by the GOP Congressional Insiders who responded to the survey. Likewise, Libya wasn't ranked as a top concern by a single Democratic or Republican Congressional Insider. (Afghanistan was not among the five issues polled.)
The National Journal Congressional Insiders Poll is a regular survey of Democratic and Republican members of Congress.