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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending March 21

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Congress may not be voters’ favorite group of people, but when it comes to matters of war and peace, they want Congress to decide.

Voters aren’t happy with the letter 47 Republican senators sent to the Iranian government raising concerns about the nuclear deal the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran. But most believe that any deal the administration negotiates with the Iranians needs to be approved by Congress before it goes into effect.

Part of the problem is that 60% believe Iran is not likely to slow or stop its development of nuclear weapons as a result of the treaty the administration is now negotiating

Voters tend to believe the radical Islamic State group (ISIS) is winning the war in Iraq but are much less supportive of putting U.S. combat troops in the fight than they were six weeks ago. Two-out-of-three voters (66%) say the approval of Congress should be required before the president sends troops into combat against ISIS.

Overall confidence in the U.S. military is at an all-time high. Confidence in the president remains a mixed bag. 

The president ended the week calling for mandatory voting in the United States, but voters strongly reject that idea.

Speaking of the presidency, voters are more confident that Americans will elect a woman to the White House in the near future.

Yet even though Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, most voters think Democrats should run a newcomer next year. Over half of Democrats don't disagree.

Of course, when Mitt Romney was flirting with running again next year, voters felt even more strongly that Republicans should look for a fresh face to run for president in 2016, and 60% of Republicans agreed.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is the most popular newcomer on the current list of Democratic contenders if Clinton chooses not to run for president in 2016

Congress and the president are going at it again over the federal budget, but voters still think, as they have for years, that cutting taxes and spending is the way to go.

Most voters also continue to put reducing health care costs ahead of requiring everyone to have health insurance and think keeping the government out of the market is the best way to reduce those costs. 

Republicans and Democrats are tied on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

Following the shooting last week of two police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, most voters believe the media is overemphasizing shootings by the police and making their jobs more dangerous.

The U.S. Justice Department last week charged police in Ferguson with a widespread pattern of racial discrimination, prompting the police chief to resign, but few voters expect Ferguson to become any safer. But then very few think the federal government is much help to local police.

In other surveys last week:

-- Thirty-two percent (32%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction.

-- The debate over gun control isn’t a new one, but it’s also not one that’s likely to end anytime soon.

-- While most parents of elementary and secondary school children agree with celebrating some religious holidays in the schools, they don't include the two Muslim holidays that Mayor Bill de Blasio recently added to the New York City public school calendar.

-- Most Americans see cloning of individual people as likely in the next 25 years but aren’t interested in bringing back a dead loved one.

-- Arguing that “a woman’s place is on the money,” an activist group wants to push President Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a famous woman from U.S. history. But only 64% even know Jackson is on the $20.

-- How many Americans know George Washington is on the $1 bill?

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