Move over, economy: Americans ramp up concern over national security and foreign policy

CNN poll: Trump approval rating holds at 37%
CNN poll: Trump approval rating holds at 37%

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    CNN poll: Trump approval rating holds at 37%

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CNN poll: Trump approval rating holds at 37% 01:54

Story highlights

  • About one-third of Americans chose national security or foreign policy as the top issue facing the US today
  • The number of Americans choosing the economy fell to just 17% this month

Washington (CNN)The national economy is no longer at the top of the list of Americans' most important issues, according to a new CNN poll released by SSRS.

Instead, a combined 1 in 3 Americans (32%) now say that national security and foreign policy are the top issues facing the US today, climbing from a combined 22% back in March.
    The economy had previously held the top spot, with 26% of Americans citing it, but that's fallen to just 17% over the last six months. Health care comes in at 21% in this new survey, with civil rights at 14% and immigration at 10%.
    The drop in the importance of the economy is usually a sign that the economy is performing well, allowing other issues like defense and international affairs to take the spotlight.
    But Trump also in recent months has presided over multiple escalating foreign policy hotspots -- from the uncertain fate of the Iran nuclear deal to greater tensions with North Korea to spats with countries next door and around the world over trade and immigration.
    The poll also showed the number of people who believe things are going well in the country slipping from 53% in August to 46% now, despite the strong economy -- perhaps a sign of a renewed focus on national security and foreign hotspots.
    A large chunk of the increase in national security and foreign policy concern comes from men and Democrats, who rose from 18% to 35% and from 14% to 28% in citing those areas, respectively. It's also climbed to 39% of people making over $50,000 per year, up from just 25% in March.
    A strong economy -- and the ability for Americans to focus on other issues -- is usually a positive sign for the President, but Trump's approval rating remains mired at 37% in the same CNN poll. The economy has seen strong numbers since Election Day, with a climbing stock market and low unemployment, which were also seen under the Obama presidency as the nation came out of the Great Recession.
    The CNN poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone October 12-15 among a random national sample of 1,010 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.