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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending on March 31, 2018

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Recent news reports say U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a Utah federal prosecutor looking into allegations of misconduct at the Justice Department and FBI. But most TV news outlets have spent much of the week focused on the claims associated with porn star Stormy Daniels’ alleged sexual relationship with Donald Trump 12 years ago.

CBS-TV’s long-running “60 Minutes” series scored its highest-ever ratings Sunday night with its interview of the porn star, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. However, voters don’t attach much importance to her claims now that Trump is president of the United States. 

But fresh into Trump’s second year in office, most voters (52%) see even more bias against the president in the media than they did at the start of his presidency, up from 44% a year ago and 47% in August.

In the narrower media view, as questions about Facebook's mining of private user data continue to arise, and with possible congressional hearings set to begin April 10, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is taking heat.

Despite the perceived bias against Trump, Republicans continue to like his kind of leadership, while Democrats and unaffiliated voters believe he’s too confrontational. 

Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters still have an unfavorable opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin, though. Thirty-one percent (31%) think Putin’s Russia is a bigger threat to the United States than our old Cold War rival, the communist Soviet Union, while 37% describe the threat as about the same. 

Even as Trump imposes tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods to balance the trade playing field, 73% of voters consider China a bigger threat to the United States economically than militarily and think the U.S. government has been too easy on it.  

Trump praised the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia in a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but it appears voters aren't as enthusiastic as the president.

Looking again at domestic leadership, rumors are swirling around that Paul Ryan may step down as Speaker of the House of Representatives. While he is liked by a strong majority of Republicans, they wouldn’t be sad to see Ryan go. 

The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2020 census questions, including one that asks whether respondents are legal U.S. citizens. Americans recognize the importance of the census and are on board with including the citizenship question.

A funeral was held in Sacramento Thursday for Stephon Clark, an unarmed black man who was killed by Sacramento police officers in his grandmother’s backyard. The funeral came amid nearly two weeks of protests and unrest in the city over Clark’s death. But even in light of Clark’s shooting, most Americans continue to rate the police highly and think most officer-involved deaths are not their fault

Last Saturday, thousands of Americans participated in March for Our Lives events across the country for stronger gun control and protections for students in light of last month’s Parkland, Florida, school shooting. The marches grew out of student activism, and while voters aren’t convinced the marches will bring about change, they definitely see more political involvement among students today

In other surveys last week:

-- Despite his long history of hate-filled anti-Semitic, anti-LBGTQ, anti-American, racist rhetoric, the radical wing of the Democratic party has quietly embraced Louis Farrakahan without condemnation–including seven current House members: Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, Danny Davis, André Carson, Keith Ellison, Gregory Meeks and Al Green.

-- As Tax Day approaches, Americans are less worried about getting audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) than they were this time last year.

--Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters now think the country is heading in the right direction.  

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