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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending January 28, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

President Trump moved at warp speed through his first full week in office, and voters like what they’re seeing.

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll has found the new president’s job approval hitting the mid- to upper 50s.

Voters overwhelmingly followed Trump’s Inauguration Day, but Republicans understandably were a lot happier with it than others were.

Some media commentators were highly critical of Trump’s use of the phrase “America First” in his inaugural address to describe his trade and foreign policy agenda, but most voters feel the new commander in chief is on the right track.

In the same speech, the president charged the Washington, D.C. establishment with long profiting at the expense of the average American, and voters strongly agree.

With that in mind, voters by a two-to-one margin favor Trump’s plan to cut spending up to 10% and cut staffing up to 20% in some federal government agencies. One area they don’t want him to touch, however, is the taxpayer subsidies for PBS and NPR.

Trump’s powerful anti-establishment speech was reminiscent of his not-so-distant overflowing, raucous campaign rallies.

Most voters welcome the president’s decision this week to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) mega-trade deal and agree that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada needs to be reworked.

Trump opposes these trade deals which lower tariffs on certain nations, saying they kill American jobs because U.S. goods cannot compete against those made overseas by workers making significantly less pay. Supporters of free trade argue that it makes products cheaper for U.S. consumers. By a 73% to 16% margin, though, Americans believe it is more important to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States than it is to keep prices low for U.S. consumers.

Americans strongly believe in buying things made in the U.S.A., and most don't think the government protects domestic businesses enough.

Republicans historically have been the biggest fans of free trade deals, and the president is likely to run into resistance from congressional members of his own party. But GOP voters identify a lot more with Trump than with the average Republican in Congress. 

The president this week also told business leaders that he hopes to cut regulations on corporations by 75% or more because current regulations “make it impossible to get anything built.” Few voters defend the current level of government regulation.

Trump put the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines back in play, too. Most voters have long supported the Keystone project, perhaps in part because 62% believe an oil pipeline like this can be built without significantly damaging the environment

Among several executive orders he signed this week, the president ordered planning to begin on the wall he intends to build on the U.S.-Mexico border to help stop illegal immigration. Voters are closely divided over whether the United States should build the wall, but most think it’s likely that Trump will dramatically cut the number of illegal immigrants entering America.

Stopping illegal immigration has long been voters’ number one immigration priority.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a meeting with Trump scheduled for next week over the U.S. president’s insistence that Mexico pay for the wall, even proposing a sizable tariff on Mexican-made products if necessary. Just 21% of Americans think the Mexican government wants to stop its citizens from illegally entering the United States, and 50% believe Mexico should be asked to compensate U.S. taxpayers to offset some of the costs to this country of illegal immigration.

But voters did balk at Trump’s threat this week to send federal law enforcement to Chicago if the city fails to stem its rising murder rate. Most voters think the feds should butt out of local crime.

Voters are more comfortable than ever with the amount of power the president now holds.

A sizable number of voters believe last Saturday’s Women’s March on Washington made its point and will champion women’s rights worldwide.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters think the country is heading in the right direction, the highest level of confidence in four years. This survey was wrapped up the night before Trump's inauguration. We’ll find out Monday at 1 p.m. EST how voters feel about the country’s direction now.

In other surveys last week:

-- America’s gold standard pollster for election season horse-race polling declined to post an entry in 2016’s political derby. Gallup, come back. We missed you.

-- With the luxury of a little more time since Election Day, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Entertainment Software Association have taken a closer look at how they did pollwise in state election surveys relative to 538, RealClearPolitics and Huffington. Pulse Opinion Research did those state tracking surveys for the business groups. Pulse conducts the field work and provides the methodology for all Rasmussen Reports surveys.

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