(WNCN) — As Americans feel increasingly optimistic about the COVID-19 pandemic, a new poll found that concerns about the government is now America’s “top problem”.
According to Gallup, just eight percent of Americans polled mention COVID-19 as the nation’s biggest issue — the lowest point since the pandemic began. This is a decline of seven percentage points since May and 12 points since April.
In April 2020, 45 percent of individuals who were asked the question cited COVID-19 as the biggest issue, which is among the highest recorded by Gallup for any issue, researchers say.
The latest data, which was recorded from a June 1-18 poll marked the first time since the start of the pandemic that the coronavirus has not been one of the top two U.S. problems.
Mentions of the government as the nation’s top problem rose six points to 22 percent, making it the top overall problem in June.
Meanwhile, the percentage of U.S. adults naming race relations remained steady at 11 percent — the second biggest problem mentioned, while slightly more Americans than in May named the economy and citations of immigration ticked down.
According to Gallup, concerns about the government dominated polls from 2017 through early 2020, before the pandemic.
Researchers report that the peak percentage of respondents citing government as the nation’s biggest problem, which includes a mixture of concerns about the president, Congress, and government dysfunction, was 29 percent in January, around the time protesters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.
The historical high in mentions of government as the most important problem is 35 percent in February 2019, which was just after the longest U.S. government shutdown ended.
As with many other social issues, there is little partisan agreement on what the nation’s biggest problem is. According to Gallup, 30 percent of Republicans cite government as the biggest issue, compared to 23 percent of Democrats.
Among Republicans, immigration was the next-most-mentioned problem while race relations ranked second for Democrats. Researchers found that Democrats, too, are more likely to name COVID-19 as an issue compared to Republicans.
While the public is feeling more positive about the coronavirus situation, their view of government has worsened. Although President Joe Biden’s job approval rating remains stable, approval of Congress has fallen in recent months, Gallup researchers found.