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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls -- For The Week Endine June 1, 2013

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Health care and housing are hotter topics for many Americans these days than the growing controversies surrounding the Obama administration.

Amid increasing news reports of potential big insurance rate hikes, Scott Rasmussen’s latest weekly newspaper column contends that consumers are set to repeal a large part of President Obama’s health care law. “Advocates of the plan dramatically misread the public mood. Only 28% of voters believe the top priority should be guaranteeing comprehensive insurance coverage for all workers. Sixty-six percent (66%) think it's more important to let workers pick their own mix of insurance coverage and take-home pay.

If they had the choice, 59% would opt for less expensive insurance and a bigger paycheck.

As the countdown continues to full implementation of the health care law next year, voters are still evenly divided over whether they want their governor to help make the law a reality in their state

On the housing front, 60% now say their home is worth more than what they owe on their mortgage. That matches the most upbeat assessment since the Wall Street meltdown in 2008. Thirty-five percent (35%) think their house’s value will go up over the next year, a huge improvement from over a year ago.

Thirty-three percent (33%) of Americans say now is a good time for someone to sell a house where they live. That, too, is a four-year high.

More Americans than ever (70%) also believe that homeowners who can’t afford their mortgage payments should downsize rather than receive assistance from the government.

At the same time, the Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which measure daily confidence continue to run at or near their highest levels since before the Wall Street collapse in 2008.

But most voters don’t approve of the Justice Department’s investigation of news reporters, and a plurality (42%) now thinks the department’s boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, should resign.

Coming up this weekend on What America Thinks, Scott Rasmussen looks at public reaction to Holder's current troubles and other topics. Then, Washington Examiner Executive Editor Mark Tapscott discusses the various investigations in Washington and how the press is responding. Finally, former Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy talks about the challenges of legalizing marijuana

The weekly television show airs on 64 stations nationwide. Find a station near you.

The positive economic news may help explain why the president’s overall job approval ratings haven’t suffered despite the continuing media focus on the Internal Revenue Service, Justice Department and Benghazi controversies.

Still, just 37% of voters rate Obama’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent, while 45% view his performance in this area as poor. Meanwhile, views of the president’s handling of national security issues have slipped to levels not seen since before the killing of Osama bin Laden two years ago. Just 40% now give the president good or excellent ratings for his handling of national security, while 39% rate his performance as poor.

The president made headlines recently with a national security speech promising to close the prison camp for terrorists at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba and to restrict the government’s use of armed drones. Voters are closely divided over whether the Guantanamo prison should be closed, and just 27% agree with bringing some of those inmates to the United States to make closing the camp possible.

Voters are now more supportive of using unmanned drones to kill U.S. citizens overseas who pose a terrorist threat. A surprising 36% favor their use against terrorist threats in this country.

Democrats’ efforts to strengthen gun control laws also may not have had the political impact they’d hoped for: Voters now trust Republicans more than the president’s party on the gun control issue.  Just 41% trust Democrats more. In March, Democrats had a five point advantage on the issue.

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on a lawsuit challenging the University of Texas’ use of race as a factor in admissions.  Just 25%of Americans favor such a policy. That’s consistent with a larger perspective that students should be judged on their own merits. Just 30% believe it is okay for schools to give preferences to the children of donors.

Only 23% believe that, in reality, elite schools only accept the most qualified students. Seventy-one percent (71%) believe that accepting only the most qualified students for admission is better than giving preference to alumni families.

Most voters don't believe they are getting a good return on current education spending, and just 34% think more money will enhance student performance.

Voters generally believe tax increases hurt the economy, but they’re still slightly more inclined to vote for a candidate who would raise taxes only on the wealthy over one who would oppose all tax increases.

Democrats have regained the lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot. For the last six weeks, the gap between the two parties has been two points or less.

In other surveys last week:

-- For the third week in a row, 30% of voters say the country is heading in the right direction. That’s nearly identical to attitudes a year ago.

-- Seventy-three percent (73%) of working Americans generally look forward to going to work.

-- Sixty-five percent (65%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Boy Scouts of America, down from 73% a year ago.

-- With the trial in the sensational Trayvon Martin case just two weeks away, interest in the case is way down. A plurality of Americans have no opinion as to whether the man who shot the Florida teen last year should be found guilty of murder.

-- Just 17% of Americans favor making it easier for the FBI to wiretap Internet communications such as instant messages, Facebook chats and e-mails.

-- New York City voters still approve of the job Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing but are almost evenly divided when it comes to the “stop and frisk” policing policy he endorses.

-- Thirty-one percent (31%) of Americans rank Memorial Day as one of the nation’s most important holidays, and 41% planned to do something last Monday to honor those who sacrificed their lives for this country.

-- Seventy-one percent (71%) of Americans think Memorial Day means summer has arrived.

-- Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans say they or a family member has taken a vacation on a cruise ship. But 45% are less likely to take a vacation on one of these ships now, given all the problems they’ve been having.

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