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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 24, 2018

Saturday, February 24, 2018

President Trump closed the week with his highest favorability rating since mid-June of last year while the finger-pointing continues over the latest school massacre. 

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of Trump’s job performance. President Obama earned 45% approval on this date in the second year of his presidency.

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump's job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports' Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, please send e-mail to beth@rasmussenreports.com  .

The president’s plan to fix the nation’s ailing infrastructure calls for generating $1.5 trillion in upgrades through ventures involving the federal government, state government and private industry. Most voters like the idea of finding outside sources to help fund the infrastructure plan

Just 33% of Americans rate the safety of roads, bridges, dams, tunnels and the like in the area where they live as good or excellent. But only slightly more (35%) are willing to pay anything extra in taxes each year to upgrade and improve America’s infrastructure.

Voters in general think the president of the United States holds the right amount of power, though they’re not sure if that makes him the most powerful person in the world.

We’ll be telling you next week how voters feel about some of Trump’s latest actions and ideas, including tougher sanctions on North Korea, armed teachers in schools and pulling federal immigration agents out of California because of that state’s refusal to enforce most laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration.

Rasmussen Reports is also asking which is more to blame for the February 14 massacre at a Florida high school – the failure of government agencies to respond to numerous warning signs from the prospective killer or the lack of adequate gun control.

Following the Florida killings, Democrats and many in the media are clamoring for more gun control. But most American don’t believe stricter gun control laws will reduce violent crime. They also don’t trust the federal government to enforce gun laws fairly.

Still, support for more gun control is now equal to calls for more treatment of the mentally ill as the best way to stop incidents of this kind. But only 32% believe schools can be made completely safe from violence like this.

Most voters continue to view the embattled Federal Bureau of Investigation favorably and aren’t ready to fire the FBI’s boss because of its failure to act on tips about the Florida school shooter.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe has resulted in 13 indictments against Russians for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and half of voters think it’s possible this alleged interference cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. But slightly more think the U.S. government also interferes in the elections of other countries.

The indictments handed down to the Russians involved using stolen identities from American citizens to promote mostly pro-Trump political activist campaigns through social media. Interestingly, though, 79% of regular social media users insist that their political opinions are not significantly influenced by postings on social media, including 40% who say they are not influenced at all. 

Even though this Congress dodged the shutdown bullet and passed the biggest reform of the tax code in decades, voters continue to give it low marks. Just 31% think Congress is even somewhat likely to seriously address the most important problems facing the nation.

Of course, Congress managed to avoid the shutdown only by ballooning the budget with billions in across-the-board new spending. Voters think instead that the government should be looking for across-the-board spending cuts and say politicians’ unwillingness to reduce government spending is more to blame for the size of the federal deficit than taxpayers’ unwillingness to pay more in taxes. 

In other surveys last week:

 -- Forty percent (40%) of voters now say the country is headed in the right direction

-- Most Americans have a favorable opinion of the Rev. Billy Graham, the longtime Southern Baptist evangelist and spiritual counselor to several presidents, who died earlier this week. 

-- This flu season is already one of the worst on record, and it’s not over yet. One-in-three Americans say the flu has hit their family, even though half have gotten a flu shot.

-- Americans honor both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on Presidents’ Day which falls annually on or near Washington’s birthday. While Lincoln’s birthday is earlier in the month, most Americans think one holiday is enough for these two iconic presidents.

Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated several times each day.

Remember, if it's in the news, it's in our polls.

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