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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls: Week Ending April 19

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Americans have long prided themselves on their exceptionalism, but these days they have a deeply cynical view of many of the nation’s foundational institutions.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Likely U.S. Voters now fear the federal government. Only 19% trust the federal government to do the right thing most or nearly all the time.

Just six percent (6%) think Congress is doing a good or excellent job

Seventy-two percent (72%) say it would be better for the county if most of the current members of Congress were defeated this November. Sixty-six percent (66%) think most incumbents get reelected because election rules are rigged to benefit them. 

Fifty-three percent (53%) of Americans believe that, compared to people who make more or less than they do, they pay more than their fair share of taxes. However, just 16% of voters think most members of Congress pay most of their taxes

Congress remains the number one political complaint for voters unhappy with the overall direction of the country. 

President Obama is seen more favorably than Congress, but even he continues to earn a daily job approval rating in the negative mid- to high teens

The integrity of the media? Forty-one percent (41%) of voters believe that if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, most reporters will try to help her. Only 13% think most reporters will try to help her Republican opponent instead.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters rate the quality of health care they now receive as good or excellent, but 51% expect the health care system to get worse under the new health care law

Sixty-three percent (63%) think outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is responsible for the the problems associated with the health care law to date, but only 12% believe those problems will be more quickly fixed now that she is being replaced.

[Earlier this week, The New York Times floated the trial balloon of a Sebelius Senate run in Kansas, but she trails Republican incumbent Pat Roberts by 17 points in our look at a possible contest between the two.] 

Most voters continue to believe that the U.S. economy is fair to women, blacks and Hispanics, but 62% still view it as unfair to the middle class

Three-out-of-four Americans remain concerned about inflation, and the number who expects to pay more in the grocery store a year from now (72%) is higher than it’s been in months. 

At week’s end, consumers remained pessimistic about the direction of the economy, while investors were evenly divided between those who expect it to get better and those who think it will get worse. 

Only one-out-of-two of all Americans is even somewhat confident in the nation’s banks, and that includes just 10% who are Very Confident. In July 2008, prior to the Wall Street meltdown, 68% were confident in the U.S. banking system. 

The recently-disclosed Heartbleed bug has  jeopardized the security of a number of major web sites, and 54% think America’s increasing reliance on the Internet for business and financial transactions makes the economy more vulnerable to attack. Sixty-five percent (65%) are at least somewhat confident in the security of online banking and other financial transactions on the Internet, but that includes only 17% who are Very Confident. 

Just 31% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction

In other surveys this week:

— Democrats lead Republicans by two points on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot

— Incumbent Republican Nikki Haley holds a double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Vincent Sheheen in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at their 2014 gubernatorial rematch in South Carolina

— Republican challenger Bruce Rauner has a slight 43% to 40% lead over incumber Democrat Pat Quinn in Illinois’ gubernatorial contest

— A recent study found that the average family spent $1,139 on a high school prom in 2013. Seventy-two percent (72%) have a favorable opinion of proms, but 84% think that’s too much to spend. 

Seventy percent (70%) of Americans believe Jesus Christ was the son of God. Sixty-nine percent (69%) believe he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday.

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