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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 18, 2015

Saturday, April 18, 2015

For the majority of Americans, the five-letter word “taxes” is dirtier than most words of the four-letter variety.

After all, most voters in surveys for years have called for a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over a more active one with more services and higher taxes.  Voters strongly distrust the way the federal government spends tax dollars and think there's not enough oversight of how that money is spent.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans believe filling out their income tax paperwork is worse than taking a trip to the dentist’s office.

Still, most were on schedule to file their income taxes by last Wednesday’s deadline, with half expecting a refund. But over half think they are paying more than their fair share.

Americans feel more strongly than ever that the middle class pays a larger share of their income in taxes than the wealthy do.

That’s why political candidates routinely promise to help the middle class with tax cuts. But most Americans think those candidates don’t even agree on who makes up the middle class, and they don’t believe their promises of cutting taxes. 

Just the opposite, in fact. President Obama in this year’s State of the Union address proposed $320 billion in tax increases on the wealthiest Americans, but most voters suspect this just means more taxes on the middle class as well.

A lot can happen in the nearly 19 months between now and Election Day, but right now voters agree the president and the Republican-led Congress are a problem for the presidential candidates of their respective political parties.

The president’s daily job approval ratings remain little changed.

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

Most voters think Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States, even though they have very mixed feelings about her.

Clinton leads the first two announced candidates for the Republican nomination, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, but earns less than 50% support at this early stage.

Voters are less convinced that Bill Clinton will be a plus for his wife’s bid for the White House.

Senator Marco Rubio is the third Republican to officially announce his candidacy for president, and GOP voters think he has about the same shot as his announced rivals to win the party’s nomination.

Republicans and Democrats are tied on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

Voters are increasingly critical of the health care they get and predict it will get even worse under the new national health care law.

In other surveys last week:

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

-- Nearly three-quarters of voters rate the quality of drinking water in their area as good or excellent

-- While California is making headlines with its mandated reduction in water usage, Americans are overwhelmingly confident in their own water supply. But many question whether their local governments are doing enough to protect it. 

-- Voters remain critical of the nation’s public schools and still strongly favor giving parents choices when it comes to their children's education. 

-- Americans still have a very high opinion of teaching, but more than ever say it's not a job most people consider pursuing.

-- Looks like the North and South still don’t see eye-to-eye on the Civil War 150 years after it ended, but one-out-of-three Americans don’t even know when that cataclysmic conflict took place.

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