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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending December 29, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

So where does the nation stand just before we launch into a tempestuous congressional election year? 

Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction. That’s down from 35% a year ago but a rebound of sorts from the low of 13% reached in early October during the federal government shutdown.

President Obama’s daily job approval ratings have improved slightly in recent days after the disastrous debut of Obamacare drove those ratings to record lows for his entire presidency. Holiday goodwill or a change in direction? We’ll see.

The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which measure the daily confidence of both groups are up again. They are still short of their highs for 2013 but remain well ahead of where they have been for the last several years.

But just 29% of Americans say now is a good time to sell a home in their area. That’s the most pessimistic assessment of the local housing market since March.

At the same time, 62% of homeowners say their home is now worth more than what they still owe on their mortgage. That's the highest finding since Rasmussen Reports began regular tracking on this question in April 2009.

Seven percent (7%) of homeowners admit to missing a mortgage payment or paying late over the last six months, and slightly more (10%) think it is at least somewhat likely that they will miss or be late on one in the next six months.

Republicans have taken a three-point lead over Democrats – 42% to 39% - on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot. The GOP has now led four out of the last six weeks; Democrats led one week, and there’s been one tie.

Meanwhile, the two biggest problems facing the Obama administration – the new national health care law and the National Security Agency’s controversial domestic spying programs – are still front and center.

Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters view the health care law unfavorably, and 27% say it has forced them to change their health insurance.  The law which was passed back in 2010 finally rolled out officially beginning October 1, and to say its debut has been rocky would be a major understatement.

More voters than ever (43%) think the NSA’s secret monitoring of Americans’ phone calls and e-mail messages will be the controversy that outlasts the others dogging the Obama administration.  The government claims the programs are anti-terrorist measures, but voter confidence in how the United States is doing in the War on Terror has fallen to its lowest level in over two-and-a-half years.

Sixty-three percent (63%) continue to support the U.S. government’s use of unmanned drones to kill terrorists overseas, but only 26% favor Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ idea of using drones for commercial purposes such as package delivery. Just 17% support their use by police agencies in this country.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters favor the U.S. government sending drones and missiles to Iraq to help fight al-Qaeda-led insurgents there. Only 12%, however, believe that U.S. soldiers should return to Iraq to help protect the democratically elected government.

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-eight percent (28%) of voters say they are both fiscally and socially conservative, while 11% are liberal in both areas.

-- Seventy-five percent (75%) think parents should have a choice whether to send their children to a school that allows prayer.

-- Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Americans celebrate Christmas in their family, and 68% of these adults celebrate the holiday primarily as a religious one.

-- Sixty percent (60%) consider Christmas to be one of the nation’s most important holidays.

-- As of the last weekend before Christmas, 22% still had not yet begun their holiday shopping.

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