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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending January 25, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Voters are increasingly pessimistic about the War on Terror even as they continue to question the National Security Agency’s spying efforts to fight it.

Thirty percent (30%) now think the terrorists are winning the War on Terror, the highest level of pessimism in three years.

Most voters (53%) believe the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012 died in terrorist attacks. A recent bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report confirms this belief. Only 13% think they were killed in a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video as the Obama administration and the New York Times claim is the case. Forty-six percent (46%) also now think former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations are likely to suffer because of the Benghazi affair.

Voters are wary of a new treaty to slow Iran’s nuclear program, but 24% think Iran should be part of the Syrian peace talks that began this week.

A rogue intelligence analyst last June exposed the NSA’s spying on the phone calls and e-mails of millions of ordinary Americans. Voters are conflicted about the program despite the government’s insistence that it is part of the fight against terrorism. President Obama has now announced tighter controls on the NSA’s domestic spying efforts, but two-out-of-three voters (68%) think spying on the phone calls of ordinary Americans will stay the same or increase.

Forty-two percent (42%) of voters rate the president’s handling of issues related to national security as good or excellent, while 34% believe he’s doing a poor job. These attitudes have changed little in recent months.

Obama’s daily job approval ratings remain at levels seen for much of his presidency.

Democrats have a six-point lead over Republicans on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

In Rasmussen Reports’ only horse race survey of the week, incumbent Democrat Mark Warner holds a 14-point lead over Republican challenger Ed Gillespie among Likely Virginia Voters – 51% to 37% in our first look at the 2014 U.S. Senate race in that state.

Thirty percent (30%) of voters nationwide think the country is heading in the right direction. A year ago, 35% felt that way.

Just 34% think America’s best days are still to come.

Twenty-four percent (24%) now say their home is worth less than when they purchased it, a five-point increase from November and the highest level of pessimism since June.

Fifty-three percent (53%) still feel the value of their home is more than what they owe on their mortgage. But that's down from 62% in December, the highest finding since Rasmussen Reports began regular tracking on this question in April 2009.

However, 35% of homeowners expect their home’s value to go up over the next year. That compares to 29% a year ago.

Fifty percent (50%) of Americans think interest rates will be higher in a year.  But 45% are at least somewhat confident that the Federal Reserve can keep inflation and interest rates down, although that includes just 10% who are Very Confident.

Consumer and investor confidence both remained high at week’s end.

The week began with the national holiday that celebrates the birth of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.  An overwhelming majority of Americans continue to hold a favorable opinion of King, but just 35% think we have reached the day of equal opportunity for all races that he envisioned.

Only 31% believe race relations in this country are getting better, and just as many (30%) say they are getting worse.

Here’s a closer look at what America thinks about race relations.

Most voters have opposed the new national health care law’s individual mandate in past surveys, but voters are now evenly divided when asked whether the federal government should force every American to have health insurance.

In other surveys last week:

-- Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters oppose a House Republican plan that would allow food industry companies to bring 500,000 guest workers from foreign countries into the United States every year

-- The price of a first-class postage stamp will rise from 46 cents to 49 cents tomorrow, and 30% of Americans say the stamp price hike is likely to reduce their use of the post office.

-- Only 37% of voters think student performance would improve if more money is spent on funding for schools and education programs.

-- New Jersey legalized online gambling late last year, and eight other states have pending legislation to do the same. Thirty-four percent (34%) of Americans favor legalized online gambling in their state. 

-- Fifty-four percent (54%) of Michigan voters think bad government is primarily to blame for Detroit’s bankruptcy.

-- Fifty-one percent (51%) of Virginia voters approve of the job new Governor Terry McAuliffe is doing.

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