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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending March 10, 2018

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The job market is breaking records; economic confidence is flying high; North Korea’s asking for peace talks – and President Trump’s job approval ratings appear to be heading downward. Go figure.

The government jobs report for last month far exceeded expectations, with a record number of Americans employed. Black and Hispanic unemployment are at historic lows. We’ll be asking Americans next week what they expect from the job market over the next year.

Even after what financial analysts are calling a much-needed correction in the stock market, the Rasmussen Reports Economic Index remains in record territory, nearly 20 points higher than it was in President Obama’s best month. Americans’ confidence in their own personal finances is still at all-time highs.

Forty percent (40%) of voters say the country is headed in the right direction. This finding ran in the 20s for most of Obama’s second term.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Americans now rate their quality of life as good or excellent.

The president’s monthly job approval jumped up four points in February. But his daily job approval ratings were trending down at week’s end. Is the good will he appears to have generated with his conciliatory State of the Union speech at the end of January going away?

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump's job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports' Daily Presidential Tracking Poll,  please send e-mail to beth@rasmussenreports.com  .

Of course, remember, too, that over a year after Obama left office, a sizable number of voters - including most Democrats - remain convinced that he, not Trump, is responsible for the continuing economic boom.

The Republican establishment also continues its love/hate relationship with Trump, unhappy now with his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Americans, however, by a two-to-one margin think tariffs are a good way to go. We’ll be surveying more on this issue next week.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, one of Trump’s unsuccessful GOP challengers in 2016, is joining with Arnold Schwarzenegger to champion a more centrist Republican Party, and Democrats think that’s a great idea. Republicans are sticking with the president, though.

While the Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot finds that voters still favor the Democrats, more voters are pulling for the Republicans, and the gap is narrowing with the midterm elections still months away. 

Following his announcement of tough new economic sanctions on North Korea, Trump appears to have forced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the negotiating table. Even prior to Thursday's announcement of the upcoming meeting, voters here are less fearful of a North Korean nuclear attack.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of Republicans give the president positive marks for his handling of North Korea, compared to just 23% of Democrats and 41% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently announced that Russia has developed a nuclear weapon capable of beating U.S. and NATO missile defenses. Voters here aren’t particularly worried about a Russian nuclear attack, but they are more concerned these days about souring U.S.-Russia relations

On the home front, voters aren’t enthusiastic about living in a so-called sanctuary state and tend to favor the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to sue California for protecting illegal immigrants from federal authorities.

The president had previously threatened to pull border control enforcement agencies out of California. Just 45% oppose that idea.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf recently warned illegal immigrants in her city of a pending crackdown by federal immigration authorities, and federal officials now say that a number of violent criminal aliens escaped capture and deportation as a result. The U.S. Justice Department is considering legal action against Schaaf, and voters tend to support that move, too.

Only 23% think that, generally speaking, states and localities should have the right to ignore federal laws that they don’t agree with. We’ll be updating this finding early next week.

The Rasmussen Minute this week takes a closer look at last month's Florida high school shooting and who knew what and when they knew it.

Americans strongly favor raising the legal age for buying a gun to 21 but are much less supportive of a similar increase in the voting and military enlistment ages.

In other surveys last week:

-- Maine and Vermont are currently the only two states where a convicted felon can vote while he or she is still in prison, but with a new bill introduced in February, New Jersey may soon join that list. Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters don't want imprisoned felons voting in their state.

-- A tightening U.S. job market and looser marijuana laws in some states reportedly are leading to a decline in pre-employment drug tests, but most Americans still believe drug testing should be required of applicants for all or most jobs.

-- But Americans continue to feel that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana

Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated several times each day.

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

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