Why do people think math is the most valuable school subject?

Americans Grade Math as the Most Valuable School Subject

Here's a fun game for a Monday afternoon: Come up with your best explanation for the results of this Gallup poll!

Others might disagree, but I found it surprising that Americans think math is the most valuable school subject, and it got me wondering why. (By the way, a quick Google search reminded me that math is also one of the more popular subjects with students.)

Here are two ideas I jotted down (after discussing with some colleagues):

  1. Maybe people see math as a hard subject. And if it's so hard, it must be valuable, right?
  2. Maybe people see a clearer link between math and careers (engineering? medicine? architecture?), and not as clear a link with other subjects like history or foreign languages.

Am I way off?? What's your theory?