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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending March 17, 2018

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Churn in the Trump administration continued apace this week highlighted by a Cabinet-level shift in which President Trump moved CIA Director Mike Pompeo to the State Department as a replacement for ousted Secretary Rex Tillerson, with Deputy Director Gina Haspel replacing Pompeo at CIA.

Republican voters tend to like Trump’s choice of Pompeo to head the State Department, but don’t regard him as highly as they did Tillerson in November. Still, one-in-three voters need more time to get to know Pompeo before casting an opinion.

Following President Trump’s firing of Tillerson, voters remain strongly convinced that a president’s Cabinet plays a critical role in governance, but most also agree that Trump doesn’t use his Cabinet like his predecessors did.

The Cabinet shift tightens Trump’s foreign policy position as he prepares to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — the first time a U.S. president will have met with the leader of the rogue communist regime. But voters here are skeptical that the meeting will lessen the threat posed by North Korea.

Domestically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last week that 313,000 jobs were created in February and the unemployment rate remained at a 17-year low. While President Trump’s new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have some wondering what effect they’ll have on the job market, Americans are more confident than ever that things will only get better.

Most Republicans support the new tariffs, while the majority of Democrats are opposed. But only 37% of all Americans think most of their fellow countrymen know what a tariff is.

Many in the business world worry that the tariffs could hurt the United States’ manufacturing base by driving up costs for businesses and consumers.  Yet, two-out-of-three (68%) of Americans think it is more important to keep manufacturing jobs in the United States than it is to keep prices low for American consumers.

Still, most Americans fear that President Trump's metals tariffs could trigger a trade war and think it's better for the federal government to mind its own business.

Meanwhile, the battle over illegal immigration continues to heat up in California, where the U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state over its actions to shield illegal immigrants from federal immigration laws. Most voters continue to agree that states shouldn't be able to pick and choose when it comes to which federal laws they follow.

This week’s Rasmussen Minute looks at the war of words on the illegal immigrant battleground between U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and California Governor Jerry Brown.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters constantly calls for President Trump’s impeachment and even suggests she may challenge him in 2020. But few voters think favorably of the California Democrat, and they look even less favorably on her support for slavery reparations for black Americans.

In other surveys last week:

-- Students across the country staged a national walkout to protest gun violence and honor the 17 victims of the Florida high school shooting last month. Here’s a wrap-up of our related surveying since that horrific incident.

-- An Obama-era policy allowing for more leniency in schools has been strongly criticized following the massacre last month at a Florida high school. Most Americans think discipline in public schools is too easy these days.

-- In today’s 24/7 news cycle, most Americans still think the media is obsessed with getting the story first, when they think they should be focused on getting it right.

-- Thirty-seven percent (37%) of Likely U.S. Voters now think the country is heading in the right direction.

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