[Of these, taxes appear to be Americans' highest priority. That could be in part because tax rates would change significantly for 2011 if Congress does not act by the end of this year. The income tax cuts that were a centerpiece of the Bush economic plan are set to expire at the end of this year unless Congress acts to extend them. Most in Congress seem to support at least a temporary extension, though there is disagreement as to whether any extension should apply to upper-income Americans, in addition to middle-income Americans.
Also, Congress suspended the estate tax for this year, but it is scheduled to go back into effect in 2011 at a higher rate than previously was the case, unless Congress votes otherwise.]
Keeping estate taxes aka death taxes from increasing significantly topped the list with 56 percent of Americans saying that is very important, 26 percent saying it is somewhat important to deal with during the lame duck session of Congress, and 50 percent saying that extending Bush tax cuts in some form is very important with 31 percent saying it was somewhat important, came in second.
All other questions came in below 50 percent in the "very important" category with unemployment benefits at 48 percent, somewhat important 28 percent, START treaty at 40 percent,very important,33 percent saying somewhat important, DADT repeal at 32 percent,very important, 24 percent somewhat and DREAM Act at 31 percent, very important and 29 percent somewhat.
The breakdown along political lines is interesting with Republicans and Independents on opposite ends of the spectrum than Democrats.
Republicans' and Democrats' priorities differ most on extending the income tax cuts and extending unemployment benefits. In general, independents' priorities mirror those for all Americans.
Americans know what they want to see accomplished during the lame duck session of Congress (after midterms and before the newly elected Representatives and Senators are seated), now let's see if the still Democratically controlled Congress bothers to listen to the will of American voters or if they continue to push their own agenda until the GOP takes control of the House of Representatives and newly appointed Senators take their positions in the Senate, in January.
Midterm voters gave the GOP 62 net seats in the House of Representatives (and still counting as races are called), six additional seats in the Senate leaving it controlled by Democrats with far less of a majority, and hundreds of state legislative seats.
[Update] Change that to 63 House seats for the GOP since today incumbent Democrats Dan Maffei conceded in New York's 25th Congressional District race, making Republican Ann Marie Buerkle the first woman to represent that district.
(Corrections have been made to this post)