United America, Core Value 4: Security

January 30, 2014

By: Wayne Baker

Originally posted on Our Values

“America must move off a permanent war footing,” said President Obama in his State of the Union address this week. Even so, he stressed the need to “remain vigilant” and to “actively and aggressively pursue terrorist networks.”

What priority do you give to keeping our nation safe and secure? Is it your top priority?

National security is one of the 10 core values I documented in four national surveys and write about in my new book United America. When it comes to specific security issues, however, Americans can disagree, as we discuss today in this series on those 10 values.

Core Value 4: “Security”—as summarized in the chart of values we showed with Monday’s post, this value means “keeping the nation safe and secure from external and internal threats.”

Security is a core value, but it’s not the #1 issue that Americans say is very important for the president and Congress to deal with this year, according to a poll earlier this month by Gallup. Now, the #1 issue is the economy. Nine of ten Democrats (91%) and Republicans (88%) say that it is extremely or very important that the president and Congress deal with the economy this year. You could hear this concern echoed in the president’s State of the Union address. The economy and related issues dominated his remarks.

For Republicans, terrorism is the second most-cited issue—77% say this is a very or extremely important issue to address this year. The military and national defense comes next, with 76% of Republicans saying it’s a key issue.

The same isn’t true for Democrats. Education is the second most important issue, with 91% of Democrats saying that it’s a very important issue to deal with this year. Poverty and homelessness comes third, with 82% of Democrats citing this as an important issue.

Education is also important for Republicans, ranked #5 in their list of important issues. Seventy percent say this is something that should be addressed this year. But poverty and homelessness is way down on the Republican list, tied for 10th place with world affairs. Just over half of Republicans (53%) say poverty and homelessness is an important issue for the president and Congress to address this year.

Do you think the economy should be the #1 focus for the president and Congress this year?

Do you think Democrats should be more concerned about terrorism, the military and national defense?

How important is it to you that we keep our nation safe and secure from external and internal threats?