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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending March 4, 2017

Saturday, March 04, 2017

President Trump’s job approval ratings were edging up at week’s end following his generally well-received speech Tuesday night to Congress.

Fifty-three percent (52%) of voters now approve of the job the new president is doing. Trump earned a monthly job approval of 51% in February, his first full month in office.

Forty-five percent (45%) of voters say the country is headed in the right direction. This is the fifth week in a row that this finding has been in the mid-40s after running in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016. 

The president’s plan for a $54 billion increase in defense spending is sweet music to the ears of his fellow Republicans but a sour note for Democrats.

Only 34% of all voters, however, think Republicans in Congress should act quickly on the president’s agenda. Sixty-three percent (63%) say congressional Republicans should take the time to decide which of his proposals they think are best for the country. Even among Republicans, support for acting quickly (53%) is only slightly higher than belief that Congress should take its time (46%).

But most voters also agree that it’s bad for America and bad for the Democratic Party if Democrats continue to flat out oppose everything the president does. Democrats are conflicted about their party’s scorched earth policy, too.

Despite opposition from most Senate Democrats, a sizable majority of voters continues to believe federal Judge Neil Gorsuch is likely to be the next justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Voters blame disagreements between Trump and congressional Democrats on politics alone but don’t think the ongoing protests against the new president are going to make any difference.

At the first of the year, Republican voters were more likely to identify with soon-to-be-President Trump than with the GOP Congress.

Just weeks into the new Congress, however, Republicans are a lot less critical of their congressional representatives, while Democrats are less enthusiastic about theirs.

Last July, just 12% of both Republicans and Democrats gave the Congress positive marks. Now 43% of GOP voters rate Congress' performance as good or excellent, compared to only 16% of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, positives are up only slightly from 10% last year to 16% now.

Republican Senator John McCain has been one of the president’s most vocal critics, but the majority of GOP voters aren’t listening. Most Democrats, on the other hand, see McCain as a better role model for the GOP than Trump.

The Justice Department has softened its opposition to a Texas law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls to prevent voting fraud. In 2012, when the Obama administration challenged the Texas law in court, voters by a 56% to 33% margin were opposed.

A sizable majority of voters have long supported voter ID laws and don’t feel they discriminate against some as opponents of the laws claim. 

In other surveys last week:

-- Can the Dapper Don take down the leakers that lurk somewhere beneath the surface of the swamp? This week's Rasmussen Minute dives into the sea of stolen classified information that is the United Leaks of America.

-- Tax Day is still weeks away, but Americans are filing their income taxes at a much faster rate than they have in previous years.

-- Few Americans admit to cheating on their taxes, but more are worried about getting audited by the IRS than have been in the past.

-- Despite Puerto Rico’s ongoing fiscal issues, a sizable number of Americans support making the longtime U.S. commonwealth a state. There remains far less support for granting statehood to Washington, D.C.

-- Nearly one-third of all Americans – and even more Republicans - believe the United States would be better off or not impacted if California became a separate country.

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