The health of Canada's economy is first and foremost in the minds of Canadians, according to a new online poll on attitudes about the government's main priorities.

Nearly 40 per cent of respondents said "strengthening Canada’s economic union" was the most important of the federal government's stated long-term policy priorities, according to a Nanos survey.

The online poll was conducted between May 10 and May 12 and asked 1,000 Canadians which of five different priorities was the most important to them. A margin of error cannot be determined for the online survey.

Nanos said the policy priorities were taken directly from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s official website.

Respondents were asked to choose from the following priorities:

- Strengthening Canada’s economic union.

- Cracking down on gun, gang and drug crime.

- Improving food and product safety regulations.

- Asserting our sovereignty in the Arctic.

- Rebuilding the Canadian Armed Forces.

Crime came in second place, with nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23.4 per cent) saying a crackdown on gun, gang and drug crime was their top priority.

The third most important priority for Canadians was food and product safety, at just under 22 per cent, with Arctic sovereignty and rebuilding the military coming in at about eight and seven per cent, respectively.

Last year, a similar poll that used a different methodology — a random telephone survey — revealed that only about 26 per cent of respondents singled out the economy as the top priority. Crime was the highest-ranking priority in that survey, at just over 33 per cent.

Regionally, numbers in the 2012 survey were quite similar, with the economy ranking first in every region. In Quebec, concern for product safety ranked second among respondents at just over 27 per cent, while 21 per cent singled out fighting crime as an important priority. Concern for rebuilding the military in Quebec did not even reach one per cent.

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