For the first time since 2009, unemployment was out of the top two slots on Gallup's "most important problem list" as concerns about the federal deficit and Washington's inability to perform normally rose in January, results of the poll released Monday indicated.
The poll found 20 percent of respondents mentioned the deficit as the top problem, compared with 18 percent listing dissatisfaction with an aspect of government or government leaders, and 16 percent citing jobs or unemployment.
The shift in open-ended responses to the "most important problem" question points to a general movement from concerns about the economy and unemployment to greater focus on problems associated more with government, the Princeton, N.J., polling agency said.
The economy and unemployment had ranked as the top two problems each month since December 2009.
Four percent of respondent said guns and gun control was the nation's top problem, the same as in December, Gallup said.
Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 1,011 people conducted Jan. 7-10. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.