Americans Aren't as Panicked About Ebola as You Might Think

The economy ranks far higher among issues Americans worry about.

Even though the majority of Americans are concerned about Ebola, most still consider political and economic issues more pressing problems facing the country.

Five percent of Americans think Ebola is the most important problem in the U.S., according to a new Gallup poll. But for all the time the news devotes to the disease, the economy, dissatisfaction with government, and unemployment are further at the forefront of Americans' minds.

Those three areas—economy, government, and jobs—have remained top concerns since the beginning of the year. And even though this month's poll is the first time Ebola made the list of top worries, it doesn't begin to approach the economy, which 17 percent of respondents listed as the most important problem facing the U.S.

This doesn't mean that Ebola is being brushed aside. A separate poll taken last week showed that most Americans are worried that the U.S. will see a large number of cases in the next year, and 45 percent think they or someone in their family will get the disease. But despite the widespread worry, trust in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's response remains high, at about 75 percent.

Ebola's low ranking on the list of Americans' worries could have to do with the timing of the poll that measured its importance. Gallup asked about the issues early last week, before two nurses who cared for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. were themselves diagnosed with the disease. It could be that more Americans would consider the disease a top worry now, especially after one of the nurses flew in a commercial airliner the day before her diagnosis.

The poll surveyed 1,017 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between Oct. 12 and Oct. 15. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.