More Americans believe the Democratic Party (47%) than the Republican Party (39%) would do a better job of handling whatever issue they consider to be the most important problem facing the U.S. Americans’ preferences on this question in presidential election years have generally corresponded with the party that ultimately won the election.

In fact, in all but two presidential elections in Gallup records, the party leading on this measure has ended up winning the presidency. The exceptions were 1980 — when the parties were tied — and 1948, when Harry Truman scored a comeback victory after trailing in the polls most of the year. The question was not asked in 2000.