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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 27, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Here comes Super Tuesday, this year’s political Groundhog Day when we’ll find out whether the Republican presidential slugfest is over or bound to continue a while longer. Nearly 600 GOP delegates are at stake in primaries and caucuses throughout the country.

Rasmussen Reports’ latest weekly Trump Change survey finds that Donald Trump’s decisive victories in South Carolina and Nevada have Republican voters more certain than ever that he will be their party’s nominee. But the survey was conducted the two nights prior to Thursday’s contentious GOP debate in Houston. We'll find out next week if the full-throttled attacks on Trump by Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have dented voter expectations.

Off-setting that will be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s endorsement of Trump. Christie who ended his race for the GOP nomination earlier this month after his disappointing finish in the New Hampshire primary is the first prominent Republican to swing behind Trump.

With Jeb Bush out of the race, Trump has widened his lead on Rasmussen Reports' most recent Republican primary ballot survey.

The Republican establishment, terrified of a Trump victory, still hopes to coalesce the anti-Trump vote around one candidate, so look for increasing pressure on Ohio Governor John Kasich in particular to drop out of the race in hopes that his voters will go to Rubio.

One of Trump’s most prominent proposals is to build a wall along the Mexican border. Support for this proposal is down slightly among voters, but voters strongly disagree with Pope Francis's comment that those who support building the wall are not Christians.

When it comes to immigration reform, most voters continue to favor stricter border control over granting legal status to those already here illegally.

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has called for free lawyers for children who have entered this country illegally, and a law proposed in the state of Maryland would expand that to include women who are here illegally as well. But 63% of voters oppose the federal government providing taxpayer-funded lawyers to women and children who entered the country illegally to help them fight deportation. 

Democrats have their own South Carolina primary tomorrow, and Clinton is looking for a big win. Rasmussen Reports' latest monthly Hillary Meter taken just before her win in the Nevada caucus last Saturday shows that 81% of Likely Democratic Voters think Clinton is likely to be their party’s nominee. 

  Look for our latest numbers from the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination on Monday morning.

Clinton is counting on strong minority support to make Super Tuesday a big day for her, too, but she is coming under increasing fire from black activists. A high of 50% of all Americans now think race relations in this country are getting worse even after seven years of the nation’s first black president.

President Obama’s daily job approval ratings remain in the negative mid-teens.  

Voters are increasingly critical of Obama’s handling of national security issues and think he should focus on terrorism for the remainder of his time in the White House.

The president has renewed his effort to close the prison camp for suspected terrorists at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. Most voters still oppose that idea, don’t want those prisoners being jailed here and think the ones that have been released already are again a threat to the United States.

Americans remain more concerned about terror here at home than they are about the terrorist threat abroad, and right now they don’t like what they see.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has refused to help the FBI decrypt the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino, California terrorist killers, citing potential privacy violations that could extend to all of Apple’s customers. But is personal privacy more important to Americans than protecting themselves from a terrorist attack?

As they have for years, voters continue to give Congress very low marks for its job performance. The majority also still believe most representatives - including their own - are selling their votes.

In other surveys last week:

-- For the second week in a row, 30% of voters say the country is headed in the right direction. 

-- Americans are more confident they’ll file their taxes on time this year, but they're less sure about receiving a refund.

-- They're also less worried this year about being audited by the IRS.

-- This Sunday’s 88th Academy Awards are marred by controversy over a lack of diversity among the nominees, but viewers don't seem to mind.

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