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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 13, 2016

Saturday, February 13, 2016

New Hampshire’s fading in the rear view mirror, and now all eyes are on the Nevada caucus and the South Carolina primary. Will Donald Trump keep winning? Will Hillary Clinton start winning?

What a difference a big win in the New Hampshire primary makes. After a one-week drop following Trump’s second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, expectations that the New York businessman will be the Republican presidential nominee have jumped back to their highest levels in Rasmussen Reports’ latest Trump Change survey. 

Many in the conservative-leaning GOP establishment complain that Trump is not a conservative. Most Republican voters agree, but it doesn’t seem to bother them.

At the same time, with the primary process finally underway, both Republicans and Democrats are more confident that the ideological leanings of their party's eventual presidential nominee will match theirs.

Trump’s campaign has become a crusade of sorts for those angry with the powers that be. Criticized at a recent debate for his abrasive campaign rhetoric, he said he gladly welcomed “the mantle of anger.” Considering that 87% of Republicans – and 67% of all voters – are angry at the current policies of the federal government, that seems to be shaping up as pretty good campaign strategy. 

Many pundits are claiming Clinton won her latest debate with Bernie Sanders Thursday night after being smashed earlier in the week in the New Hampshire primary. Forget New Hampshire: The November election is still shaping up as Clinton vs. Trump.

Most Democrats like the idea of a third term for Obama, though.

But voters in general don’t see Obama or the Republican-controlled Congress as an asset to their respective party’s presidential candidate. The president’s daily job approval ratings remain in the negative teens.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent, says he is interested in a third-party run for the presidency, but all he does at this point is break the national tie between Trump and Clinton and put Trump in the White House

Some have suggested, however, that Bloomberg is just letting major Democratic donors know that he is available if Clinton’s campaign stumbles against Sanders or if she is indicted for trafficking in classified material over a private e-mail server while secretary of State.

Two senior Republican senators have called for the Justice Department to step aide and choose an independent special prosecutor to decide whether Clinton should be prosecuted for mishandling classified information. Most voters think that’s the way to go to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

Prominent female supporters of Clinton declared last weekend that women voters have an obligation to vote for a woman candidate, but women overwhelmingly reject that notion.

Men like that idea of women registering for the military draft, but most women don't.

The number of voters who believe terrorists are winning against the United States and its allies remains near its all-time high, but voters also worry that the U.S. military is already overstretched.  

The U.S. Supreme Court this week put the brakes on the president’s new regulations on emissions from coal-burning power plants which he believes contribute to global warming. Twenty-nine states have challenged Obama’s action in court. When it comes to global warming, most voters think the government should only do what the president and Congress agree on. 

In other surveys last week:

-- Just 28% of voters think America is heading in the right direction.

-- Most Americans still know someone searching for a job, but that figure is at its lowest level since the 2008 Wall Street meltdown.

-- Who has quit looking for work? 

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