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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 2, 2016

Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan says Donald Trump may be the only one who can beat Donald Trump, and we may be seeing signs of that beginning to emerge.

Our latest weekly Trump Change survey finds that Republican voters are growing less certain that Trump will be their party’s eventual nominee. For the second week in a row, confidence that the billionaire businessman is Very Likely to win the nomination has fallen and is now at its lowest level since just before his big win in the South Carolina primary in mid-February.

Republicans (51%) attach slightly more importance to a candidate’s spouse than Democrats (47%) do when it comes to how they will vote this fall. Given the recent spat between Trump and Ted Cruz over their wives, it will be interesting to see if this higher level of GOP concern has any long-term impact on the contest between the two.

Trump stumbled when he said this week that women who broke the law getting abortions should be punished, but he later amended that to say that the abortion providers would be the ones punished. Forty percent (40%) of women say the issue of abortion is Very Important to their vote. 

All three remaining Republican candidates refused to say at a CNN town hall this week whether they would support the party’s eventual presidential nominee if they didn’t win. But most Republicans don’t care if they support the nominee or not.

Democrats may have just the solution for the Republican establishment’s Trump problem - superdelegates.

President Obama continues to enjoy better than average daily job approval ratings. His monthly job approval index rating for March is the highest in three years

Still, just 28% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction.

Following last week’s terrorist bombings in Brussels, voters remain strongly convinced that the radical Islamic State group (ISIS) is a major danger to the United States and see little chance of that threat diminishing anytime soon.

Federal investigators say they have unlocked the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorist killers after Apple refused to help. Just 36% of voters agree with Apple’s decision to refuse the FBI’s request to unlock the suspect’s phone. Fifty-nine percent (59%) believe protecting the country from a possible terrorist attack is more important than protecting the privacy of most Americans.

But do Americans think the United States can ever be made completely safe from terrorist attacks

At least 70 Christians were killed in a terrorist bombing on Easter Sunday in Pakistan. Most voters (62%) in this country continue to believe that Christians living in the Islamic world are treated unfairly because of their religion. Just half as many (31%) think Muslims living in this country are treated unfairly because of their religion and ethnicity.

Only 28% think the United States should do more to encourage the growth of democracy in the Islamic world 

Americans are filing their income taxes at a record pace this year. But most still believe they are paying more than their fair share in taxes.

Americans in general continue to believe they are overtaxed but have little confidence that Congress and the president will do anything about it. Most voters also want Congress to stop spending so much money, but they don’t believe that’s going to happen either.

Despite the continuing anger over the policies of the federal government, another Civil War does not appear to be in the making. Only 23% of Americans think states have the right to leave the United States to form an independent country. 

However, just 21% of voters believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed.

Support for state rather than federal enforcement of immigration laws is now at its highest level in several years.

A coalition of 16 Democratic state attorneys general have announced that they will attempt to prosecute companies that dispute the existence of global warming. But 68% of voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming.  Only 24% believe the scientific debate about global warming is over.

In other surveys last week:

-- Americans overwhelmingly reject a plan being considered in several major cities including Miami and Washington, D.C. to pay criminals not to kill someone with a gun.

-- Despite the continuing debate over police conduct, most Americans still don't think cops are to blame for the majority of shootings they are involved in.

-- Voters tend to oppose stricter gun control, perhaps in part because few think tougher gun laws will reduce the level of violent crime in this country. 

-- To reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities, a New Jersey lawmaker has proposed penalizing those who use cell phones without hands-free devices on sidewalks and beside roadways. More than a third of Americans are on board with that idea.

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