For the first time since the monthly metric has been recorded by Gallup, Americans gave Republicans a clear edge over Democrats when it comes to who they trust to handle what they consider the nation’s most important problem, according to a poll released Friday.
Gallup asked respondents what they consider the nation's top problem, then followed up with a question on which of the political parties they trust to better handle it. The problem most cited, not surprisingly, was jobs/unemployment. Respondents favored Republicans over Democrats by a 7-point margin, 44 percent to 37 percent. Nineteen percent of those polled said they had no opinion or saw no difference between the parties.
Americans more trusted Democrats in years past when they identified the situation in Iraq as the most important problem. The problem switched to the economy during the recession and more Americans continued to trust Democrats until now.
When it comes to protecting the country and keeping it prosperous, more Americans continued to turn toward the Republican Party for leadership.
Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said that they trust the GOP with the task of “protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats,” while 38 percent believe Democrats are best-equipped. That finding is not new. Republicans have topped Democrats on the issue of defense for most of the past decade.
But the issue of prosperity — which Republicans carried 48 percent to 39 percent — seems to fluctuate against the incumbent. Democrats held the advantage from 2003 to 2009, a period covering the majority of George W. Bush’s presidency. The edge shifted to Republicans in 2010.