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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 9, 2016

Saturday, April 09, 2016

What a mess! Both major political parties continue stumbling toward their national conventions after another state primary illustrates how far out of step party leaders are with their own voters.

Donald Trump’s reverse momentum continues following his second-place showing in Tuesday’s Wisconsin Republican primary.

Rasmussen Reports is currently asking voters about the likelihood that either of his remaining Republican rivals, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich, will win the party’s nomination. We’ll release those findings on Monday morning.

Republican voters have to wonder after his latest primary shutout, why is Kasich still in the race?

Kasich sees his best path to the nomination as a brokered national convention, but GOP voters think the nominee should be the candidate who arrives at the convention with the most delegates. That candidate is either Trump or Cruz.

Some top Republicans see House Speaker Paul Ryan as the party’s savior if they can just make him the GOP presidential nominee. But Ryan loses to both major Democratic candidates in head-to-head matchups, with roughly a quarter of Republicans looking for another candidate.

Trump recently referred to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as “obsolete” and questioned why U.S. taxpayers should still be paying heavily to defend Europe and South Korea. But most voters think those long-standing arrangements are just fine.

However, support remains high and unchanged among Republicans for Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.

After all, 71% of Republicans – and 50% of all voters - - think the federal government does not focus enough on the threat of domestic Islamic terrorism.

Most Republicans also still favor Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump’s tough talk on illegal immigration has made that issue a key one in the race for the GOP nomination. But few voters think the federal government will bring illegal immigration to an end no matter who wins the White House in November.

Voter skepticism about the government's willingness to tighten border control killed the last comprehensive immigration reform plan considered by Congress two years ago.

Trump and Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton have both had to do damage control recently following comments they made about abortion. Voters place more importance than ever on the abortion issue, and most remain pro-choice.

After Senator Bernie Sanders' win in the Wisconsin Democratic primary on Tuesday, the volume has been increasing in that presidential contest. Sanders' supporters  are unhappy with their party’s superdelegate system, saying it favors Hillary Clinton’s nomination.  Only 30% of Democrats approve of the use of superdelegates, individuals selected by the party who can support any candidate at the party's convention regardless of who wins their state's popular vote.

Clinton and Sanders have begun challenging each other’s qualifications to be president. We’re asking voters what they think about that and will report back early next week. 

Former President Bill Clinton got in an angry confrontation with a Black Lives Matter protester at a rally for his wife Thursday. Black voters are essential to Hillary Clinton’s success in upcoming primaries, but just 26% of voters think the Black Lives Matter movement is interested in equal justice for all Americans.

Voters in both major parties are more critical of the presidential primary process than they have been in the past.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously this week that a state may count all residents, including those not eligible to vote such as illegal immigrants, when drawing up election districts. But 66% of voters think states should only count eligible voters when setting the size of legislative districts for voting purposes.

A proposal has been made in New York City to allow illegal immigrants to vote for mayor and other top city officials. But voters continue to strongly oppose allowing illegal immigrants to vote.

New York and California recently passed bills that will gradually raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour, and several other states are considering similar legislation. Most Americans want their state’s hourly minimum wage to be above the federal level of $7.25, but they aren’t willing to go as high as $15.

The South Korean government announced this week that it believes North Korea now can put a nuclear warhead on a medium-range missile. Forty-two percent (42%) of voters here think North Korea is at least somewhat likely to use a nuclear weapon to attack the United States, although that includes only 12% who say it is Very Likely.

President Obama’s daily job approval ratings remain at higher-than-usual levels.

In other surveys last week:

-- Only 26% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction.

-- The police often get a bad rap in the media these days, but most Americans are glad cops are on the job.

-- In this month's Rasmussen Reports Consumer Spending Report, it's not a question of how much consumers are spending but rather where they're spending it.

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