Twice as many Democrats say health care reform should be President Obama's top priority as say the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be his top concern, according to a new Gallup poll.
Gallup asked people this question: "Which of the following should be Barack Obama's top priority as president -- the economy, health care, the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy, the federal budget deficit, or something else?" (The choices were rotated so that not every respondent heard them in the same order.) At the top of the list, cited most by Democrats, independents and Republicans, is the economy. But there are significant differences in what comes next. Among independents and Republicans, the next three priorities are in this order: the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the federal budget deficit, and health care. Among Democrats, it's health care, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deficit.
Thirty percent of Democrats say health care should be the president's top priority, as opposed to 15 percent of Democrats who say his top priority should be the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Among independents, 21 percent say the wars should be the president's top priority, while 11 percent say it should be health care. Among Republicans, 18 percent say the wars should be the president's top priority, while 10 percent say it should be health care.
The numbers help explain Obama's slowness in reaching a decision on what to do in Afghanistan. There simply aren't very many people in the president's party who believe the war should be his top priority -- just half as many as those who say health care should be his top concern. When it comes to pressure for a decision coming from his own party, there just isn't much.