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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls -- For the Week Ending June 29, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

With the nation’s 237th  birthday just days away, it’s good to remind ourselves that for most Americans, there’s still no place like home.

Eighty-six percent (86%) are proud to be an American. Seventy-four percent (74%) believe, generally speaking, Americans should be proud of the history of the United States.

Seventy percent (70%) believe that Americans have more freedom than people in other countries. Sixty-nine percent (69%) feel Americans have more economic opportunity than people in other countries.

Not that we wear rose-colored glasses. Just 40% now agree with Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan that the United States is "the last best hope of mankind." Thirty-six percent (36%) disagree.

Only 45% of voters believe the U.S. justice system is fair to most Americans, and just 34% think the system is fair to the poor.

On What America Thinks  this week, Scott Rasmussen goes to Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to discuss America’s continuing reverence for the ideals laid out in the Declaration of Independence. What America Thinks  airs on 64 stations nationwide. Find a station near you.

In his latest weekly newspaper column, Scott notes that in our country, “public opinion leads, and politicians lag a decade or two behind. It's always been that way.” He adds that “it's easy to get discouraged about politics in the 21st century. Most voters view our government as a threat to individual rights. But we can take hope from the fact that Americans still embrace the ‘Spirit of '76.’ ”

Seventy-two percent (72%) of voters, however, suspect that the National Security Agency may have violated one of the country’s most cherished constitutional standards – the checks and balances between the three branches of government – by spying on the private communications of Congress and judges.

Recognizing that there is a tension between national security and individual rights, just 12% believe the recently disclosed NSA surveillance program is too concerned about individual rights. Forty-three percent (43%) believe the program is tilted too far in favor of national security.

The government may be understandably confused, however, over which domestic terrorists it’s supposed to be tracking. Among voters who approve of the president’s job performance, just 29% see radical Muslims as the bigger terrorist threat to the United States. Twenty-six percent (26%) say it’s the Tea Party that concerns them most. Among those who Strongly Approve of the president, more fear the Tea Party than radical Muslims. As for voters who disapprove of Obama’s performance, 75% consider radical Muslims to be the bigger terrorist threat.

If the government is listening, it doesn’t appear to be hearing to what most Americans are saying.

Take illegal immigration, for example. Sixty percent (60%) of voters favor an immigration plan that gives those here illegally legal status to stay, provided the border is really secured. But just 28% are now even somewhat confident that the government would actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration if the reform plan is passed. That’s down from 45% in January.

In large part because of this voter distrust, just 37% expect the immigration plan passed by the Senate Thursday to make it through the full Congress and become law.

Voters are evenly divided as to whether the determination that the border is secure should be made by border states or by the federal government.

The immigration plan passed by the Senate also includes quite a few “pork barrel” spending projects, even though 65% of voters continue to believe the government should cut spending rather than increase it to help the economy.

Most voters also still view nuclear weapons as critical to the country’s safety which is why just 27% agree with President Obama’s call on Monday for a reduction in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Voters disagree, too, with the president’s decision to involve the United States more deeply in the civil war in Syria. U.S. troops haven’t been sent in there yet, but most voters continue to believe American political leaders put U.S. troops in harm’s way too often.

The president this past week proposed tighter carbon dioxide emissions controls on existing power plants. Nearly half of voters like that idea, but just as many think the proposed regulations will hurt the economy. Most expect those regulations to drive up energy costs. 

The economy and health care again this month top the list of 15 voting issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports, while the environment and the war in Afghanistan are among the issues voters regard as least important.  Interestingly, though, for the first time in nearly two years, over half (51%) of voters say the immigration issue is Very Important in terms of how they will vote in the next congressional election.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has been the most visible advocate of the Senate immigration proposal. Over the past several months, Rubio’s favorability ratings among Republican voters have fallen dramatically.

Despite continuing high consumer and investor confidence in the economy, the president’s job approval ratings also remain down from the highs he hit just after Election Day.

Confidence in the short-term housing market remains higher than it has been in several years, although just 50% now say their home is worth more than they still owe on their mortgage. That’s down 10 points from 60% in May. 

Most homeowners (56%) still say their home is worth more than when they bought it, but one-in-four now say it’s worth less.

How did you do in this week’s Rasmussen Challenge?  Check the leaderboard.

In other news this week:

-- Thirty percent (30%) of Likely U.S. Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction.

-- Support remains high for allowing Americans to choose the level of health insurance they want based on how it impacts their pocketbooks.

-- Americans still don't have much confidence in the Federal Reserve Board to keep inflation under control.

-- Americans have surprisingly similar overall views of their relationship with their spouse and relations with their co-workers.

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Wall Street Journal profile called Scott Rasmussen "America's Insurgent Pollster." The Washington Post described him as "a driving force in American politics."  If you'd like Scott to speak at your conference or event, contact Premiere Speakers Bureau.

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

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