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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending May 7, 2016

Saturday, May 07, 2016

No more Trump Change: The deal’s been sealed.

Rasmussen Reports began its weekly Trump Change survey last August when Donald Trump showed the first signs of going from an entertaining sideshow to a center-ring game changer. When Trump first entered the race, just 27% of GOP voters said he was likely to be their nominee.  By last week, 93% felt that way.

Most Republicans welcome Ted Cruz and John Kasich finally dropping out of the race for the GOP nomination. Democrats, on the other hand, aren’t so eager for Bernie Sanders to quit.

Still, Sanders’ win in last Tuesday’s Indiana Democratic primary is unlikely to stop Hillary Clinton from being her party’s nominee. Last month, more Democrats than ever said Clinton is likely to win their nomination. We’ll run our Hillary Meter for May next week to test those waters again.

In short, both major political parties appear to have their presidential candidates, and now the mud’s really going to fly.

Trump has inched ahead of Clinton in our latest matchup of the two. But one-in-four voters are threatening to vote third party or stay home if those are their two major party choices.

For those who are wondering, here’s how we do our polls.

Right now, however, as other candidates consider whether to fall in line behind their party’s presumptive standard-bearer, it’s a curse more than a blessing to endorse either Clinton or Trump.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking elected Republican, is one of those who says he is not ready yet to endorse Trump as the party’s nominee.  Ryan is viewed favorably by 59% of Republican voters, but that includes only 27% with a Very Favorable opinion of him.

Remember, too, that 76% of GOP voters think Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base.

Voters remain lukewarm about President Obama's national security policies and expect more of the same if Clinton moves back into the White House next January. Trump, if elected, will definitely change things, voters say, but not necessarily for the best.

Since his policies don’t appear to be any more popular, the president must be enjoying a goodbye kiss from voters. His daily job approval ratings remain better than they have been for most of his presidency.

Speaking of Obama’s policies, the U.S. Justice Department is now challenging a new North Carolina’s law that bars people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex, saying the law violates the civil rights of transgendered Americans. Just 21% of Americans favor allowing transgender people to use the bathrooms of the opposite sex.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters now think there is too much government power and too little individual freedom in America.

Americans often embrace a political idea or an issue in theory, but Rasmussen Reports’ surveying finds that they’re more reluctant to put their money where their mouth is.

Voters appear to be moving away from the idea that the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted as written and are now more likely to feel the nation's foundational document should change with the times.

Fifty-one percent (51%) think this president has been less faithful to the U.S. Constitution than his predecessors in the Oval Office. Only 19% say Obama has been more faithful to the Constitution than previous presidents when taking executive actions.

Just 29% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Americans believe it will be difficult for this year’s college graduates to find a job in the current economy.

Consumers may still have concerns about the U.S. economy and the direction it’s heading, but it’s a different story when it comes to their own finances.

In other surveys last week:

-- Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, and while Americans don’t think much of it as a holiday, most still believe that being a mother is the most important role a woman can play.

-- As warmer weather arrives in much of the United States, most Americans see the mosquito-borne Zika virus as a major potential health problem but are confident public health agencies can handle it.

-- Even at the height of the Ebola scare in the United States in 2014, Americans were consistently confident in public health agencies’ abilities to control the spread of the virus.

-- Like the British themselves, Americans have decidedly mixed feelings about a “Brexit,” Great Britain's potential withdrawal from the European Union.

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