Gun control also ranks relatively low on the public’s priority list; just 37% rate it as a top priority, 18th out of 21 policy goals tested. This item was last asked in 2001, when support for gun control was much broader nationwide, and 47% rated it as a top priority. However, reducing crime has become a more important policy priority in the past year; 55% rate this as a top priority, up seven points since last January and the highest percentage since 2007.

The public also continues to view the financial security of Social Security and Medicare as major goals. While 70% say taking steps to make Social Security financially sound should be a top priority, a comparable percentage (65%) says the same about making Medicare financially sound.

The survey finds that energy has slipped as a policy priority since Obama took office. Currently, 45% say that dealing with the nation’s energy problems should be a top priority, down from 60% four years ago.