Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Most Important Problem, 2005-2008

The Iraq war and the economy have consistently been the top two "most important problems" facing the nation during President Bush's second term. But the dynamics have changed dramatically over the past seven months.

After near parity in 2005, the war dominated throughout 2006 as far more important that the economy, and with rising numbers of people citing the war as most important. That peaked in early 2007 with concern over the war gradually diminishing through most of the rest of the year.

And then the economy struck. As recently as August 2007 only 8% said the economy was the most important problem. By early September that jumped to 13%, then to 23% in January and now 37% in early April. By contrast the war fell from 34% to 15% over that same time.

It will be ironic if the fall campaigns largely ignore the war to focus on an economy that 12 months earlier had looked fairly good.