Concern about terrorism, race relations surges in latest Gallup poll

Meanwhile, less handwringing over economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The pollsters at Gallup have released the latest update on what Americans are most worried about. The headline is that there is substantially less fretting about the economy than a year ago and more concern over terrorism and race relations.

Here is how Americans’ concerns have changed over the past year:

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The big jumps at the top of the chart probably reflect recent news coverage – ISIS, the Charlie Hebdo murders and the ongoing Ferguson story. Still, the jump in worrying about terrorism is somewhat surprising as there haven’t been any substantial domestic threats.

The good news is clearly how Americans feel about the overall economy and declines in worries about unemployment, energy prices and health care. These are the voting issues that politicians watch most closely.

Here are the top concerns in order:

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One interesting footnote: for the first time Gallup asked about economic inequality – “the way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.” It is a top concern of 46 percent of those polled. It will be interesting to see if that is a result politicians pay attention to as the 2016 campaign heats up. 

[Also by Dick Meyer: Americans still believe in individualism, hard work]

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