Job Losses, Cancer Among Our Top Concerns

CBS News is marking the new year -- and decade -- by taking a look at "Where America Stands" on the most pressing problems confronting our country.

We're joined in this important, network-wide initiative by our print partner, USA Today.

On Tuesday, "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric discussed Americans' thoughts on important issues of the day, such as the tough economy and job losses, cancer, military preparedness and obesity. She filled in "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith on the results of recent polling.

Special Section: Where America Stands

PERHAPS THE N0. 1 CONCERN OF AMERICANS IS THE TOUGH JOB MARKET AND ECONOMY. WHAT DID THE SURVEYS FIND?

Nearly nine-in-ten Americans think today's jobs require different skills than yesterday's jobs. Concern about job loss is everywhere -- a majority of households across the country worry.

DOES TODAY'S JOB MARKET REQUIRE DIFFERENT SKILLS THAN 20 YEARS AGO?

Yes, different skills 87 percent
No, same skills 10 percent

CONCERN ABOUT HOUSEHOLD JOB LOSS

Very concerned 29 percent
Somewhat concerned 34 percent
Not concerned 33 percent

IN AN AMERICA AT WAR, ANOTHER PRESSING CONCERN IS THE MILITARY. WHAT WAS FOUND ON THAT?

Americans give the U.S. military high marks -- two-thirds grade it an A or B. But a majority also worries that, by fighting two wars, the military is being spread too thin and perhaps could NOT respond to another threat. Few favor returning to a draft (that's been the case for 25 years). Fewer than a quarter think the country is doing enough for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

GRADE ON CONDITION OF U.S. MILITARY
A 28 percent
B 39 percent
C 22 percent
D 5 percent
F 2 percent

COULD U.S. MILITARY RESPOND TO ANOTHER MILITARY THREAT?

Yes 34 percent
No, spread too thin 56 percent

ANOTHER PRESSING CONCERN FOR MANY AMERICANS, ON THE MEDICAL FRONT, IS CANCER.

Three-in-four Americans have been affected by cancer -- either they or a family member have had it. More than half worry they will get it someday. Fifty-five percent expect a cure for cancer to come along in their lifetime, but 41 percent think that's not likely. Seven-in-ten say they've done something to reduce their risk of getting cancer, including eating better, quitting smoking, having tests or exercising and taking vitamins.

HAVE YOU OR FAMILY MEMBER HAD CANCER?
Yes, self 5 percent
Yes, family member 65 percent
Yes, both self & family 4 percent
No 27 percent

CANCER CURE IN YOUR LIFETIME?
Very likely 17 percent
Somewhat likely 38 percent
Not very/not likely 41 percent

ANOTHER TOP-OF-MIND HEALTH ISSUE IS OBESITY

Americans give the country poor grades on fighting obesity -- four-in-ten give it a D or F. Nearly all think it is a serious problem, and one that people could control if they diet and exercise. More than half would like to lose weight themselves.

GRADE ON MAKING EFFORTS TO COMBAT OBESITY
A 2 percent
B 18 percent
C 35 percent
D 27 percent
F 14 percent



"The Early Show" continues its coverage of "Where America Stands" on Wednesday, with a report card on the American family.
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