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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 11, 2015

Saturday, April 11, 2015

If news reports are to be believed, Hillary Clinton will finally make it official this weekend and formally declare her candidacy for president of the United States. 

Clinton remains the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. She was the early frontrunner in the 2008 race, too, until Senator Barack Obama of Illinois jumped in.

Most voters think the Democratic Party should look for a presidential newcomer in 2016, and over half of Democrats don't disagree.

Republicans think their party should look for a fresh face, too.

Speaking of fresh faces, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is the second Republican to formally announce his presidential candidacy. Republican voters rate Paul’s chances of getting the their party’s nomination as about the same as Senator Ted Cruz’s at this early stage of the game. Cruz was the first Republican to formally enter the race.

Looking ahead to next year’s presidential contest, however, most voters expect more of the same: two candidates with whom they have very little in common.

Clinton’s experience as secretary of State is sure to be a central campaign issue. More voters than ever think the circumstances surrounding the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three other U.S. Embassy employees in Benghazi, Libya in 2012 will hurt her bid for the White House.

As the violence in Yemen escalates, voters continue to be skeptical about the political changes brought about by the so-called “Arab Spring” and worry they have made the United States less safe.

Current events appear to be coloring the views Americans have of a couple longtime foes including Iran.

Most voters doubt Iran will abide by the terms of the treaty the Obama administration is negotiating to slow the Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Trust is likely to be a critical issue in the upcoming elections.  Only 19% of voters now trust the federal government to do the right thing most or nearly all the time.

With the deadline for filing income taxes approaching on Wednesday, just 31% trust the Internal Revenue Service to fairly enforce tax laws.

The picture isn’t any better on the state level. Americans approve of California Governor Jerry Brown’s state-mandated water restrictions in the face of an ongoing drought, but most don’t trust the government to fairly ration water in a crisis situation.

Most Americans still support raising the minimum wage, even though just over half don’t know exactly what the minimum wage currently is. Still Americans aren’t thrilled about the possibility of paying higher prices for fast food to support those higher salaries.

More voters than ever feel the United States is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are here illegally, even as President Obama continues to push his plan to make up to five million illegal immigrants safe from deportation.

The president’s daily job approval ratings remain unchanged.

Voters won't be sorry to see Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid go, and that includes members of his own party.

The gap between pro-choice and pro-life voters has narrowed from recent surveys, and belief that getting an abortion in this country is too easy is stronger than it has been in over a year.

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction.

-- Does the media make the news or just report it?

-- Voters remain conflicted over the construction of new nuclear plants in the United States and still tend to think that money would be better spent on new sources of energy.

-- Anything can happen in Major League Baseball’s long season, but fans have some early picks for which team is likely to win this year's World Series.

-- How do baseball fans feel about the request by Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose for reinstatement into Major League Baseball? Should Rose be in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

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