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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending March 26, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

For many Americans this year, Easter offers a time for faith and reflection amidst a sea of troubles.

While it’s not the most important holiday of the year for the majority of Americans, most plan on attending a church service to honor the day Christians believe marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Christmas, the holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus, remains the top holiday of the year for most.

After all, America remains a strongly Christian nation: 77% of Americans believe Jesus Christ was the son of God sent to Earth to die for our sins, and 75% believe Christ rose from the dead.

Most voters (62%) in this country also continue to believe that Christians living in the Islamic world are treated unfairly because of their religion. Just half as many (31%) think Muslims living in this country are treated unfairly because of their religion and ethnicity.

Fifty percent (50%) worry that the U.S. government does not focus enough on the threat of domestic Islamic terrorism, the highest finding in five years of surveying, and this survey was taken before the terrorist carnage in Brussels early this week.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans now believe a terrorist attack similar to the one in Brussels is likely in the United States within the next year.

Many pundits and politicians think support for Donald Trump’s tough-talking candidacy will grow following the Brussels terror attacks. Despite Jeb Bush’s endorsement of Trump’s last serious rival Ted Cruz this week, Republicans continue to believe overwhelmingly that “The Donald” is the GOP’s next likely presidential nominee.

Trump already has benefited from the anger many Republicans feel toward their current elected leaders. Seventy-six percent (76%) of GOP voters now believe Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base nationwide, the highest-ever level of disapproval in regular surveying on this question since 2008.

But all voters continue to give Congress dismal marks for its performance after a glimmer of hope last year when Republicans took control of both the House and the Senate.

When you look at what voters want and what they expect, it’s easy to see why they’re unhappy.

Consider, for example, that 61% believe Americans are overtaxed, but only 18% think it’s even somewhat likely that taxes will be significantly reduced over the next few years.

Just 26% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction, the lowest level of optimism so far this year.

The president’s daily job approval ratings, however, have noticeably improved over the past month. While we’re not in the business of offering definitive explanations as to what factors are driving polling numbers this way or that, it is worth mentioning some recent developments and trends that may be impacting voter approval of Obama’s performance.

As part of his initiative to restore U.S.-Cuba relations, Obama is only the second sitting president to visit the island nation off the coast of Florida. Most voters support the president’s effort to reestablish ties with Cuba.

In other surveys last week:

-- Television still reigns supreme when it comes to where voters turn for their political news, but the media get mixed reviews for their coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign so far. 

-- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Slurpee, the frozen carbonated beverage sold at 7-Eleven convenience stores worldwide, and Americans have fond feelings toward the sugary, icy drink. 

-- Last Sunday was the first official day of spring, leaving behind Americans' least favorite season and putting most in a better mood.

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