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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending October 29, 2016

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What if we had an election, and it didn’t make any difference? That seems to be the concern of many voters.

A sizable majority already see America as a more divided nation than it was four years ago. But over half now believe it will be even more divided a year from now no matter who wins the presidency.

This comes at a time when 60% think race relations have gotten worse since the election of the first black president in 2008. Just nine percent (9%) believe race relations are better now.

Only 34% of Americans believe the U.S. economy will be stronger a year from now, while 26% say it will be weaker.

The economy remains the number one issue for voters this election cycle, but Republicans are a lot more worried about national security than Democrats and unaffiliated voters are.

Americans continue to question the country’s safety from terrorism and are skeptical of the government’s ability to prevent domestic terror attacks in the future.

Meanwhile, the new national health care law is imploding. Skyrocketing premiums for those who purchased their health insurance through Obamacare exchanges has Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the defensive. She’s promised increased federal subsidies, but voters oppose taxpayer help to offset Obamacare rate increases

Most voters have disliked the law from the start and have predicted that it will increase rather than decrease health care costs.

Illegal immigration is high on the list of concerns for many voters, but just 35% of voters believe it is even somewhat likely that the federal government will actually secure the border and prevent illegal immigration no matter who is elected president

Voter skepticism about the government's willingness to tighten border control killed the last comprehensive immigration reform plan considered by Congress two years ago.  At that time, 57% favored giving legal status to those who entered the country illegally if they have otherwise obeyed the law – but only if the border was really secured. Just seven percent (7%), however, thought the government was Very Likely to secure the border to prevent future illegal immigration.

With President Obama enjoying higher approval ratings in his final year than he has for most of his presidency, it’s perhaps no surprise that 70% of Democrats would rather vote for him than for Clinton or Donald Trump if it was legal for him to be on the ballot again.

Clinton and Trump were dead even in Rasmussen Reports’ White House Watch survey on Friday. But the Democratic nominee has taken the lead in the key state of Nevada.

Both surveys were completed prior to the FBI’s surprise announcement Friday afternoon that it is reopening the criminal investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information while serving as secretary of State. Most voters continue to disagree with the FBI's decision not to seek an indictment of Clinton, and even more rate the issue as important to their vote. 

Trump is still slightly ahead in reliably Republican Utah despite a spirited challenge from Republican-turned-Independent Evan McMullin. Unlike in neighboring Utah, McMullin isn’t making much of an impact on the presidential race in Idaho.

Clinton said she was shocked at Trump’s statement during the final debate that he will wait until the election results are final before accepting them because he's concerned about potential voter fraud. Most voters think voter fraud is a serious problem and agree that a candidate should wait until the results are finalized.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) say voters should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to vote, and 61% don't believe laws requiring photo identification at the polls discriminate against some voters as critics claim. 

Voters aren’t buying the Democrats’ story that the Russians are trying to manipulate the election for Trump but do think the U.S. media is trying to swing things for Clinton.

Most voters say the media, not the candidates, have set the agenda for this year’s election, and 74% believe the media is more interested in creating controversies about the candidates than in reporting where they stand on the issues.

Rasmussen Reports thought it would cut through all the charges and counter-charges flying in the presidential race and ask voters which candidate they think has more to hide. They say Clinton does.

Speaking of issues, voters rate the selection of the next U.S. Supreme Court justice as a big deal to their upcoming presidential vote, and they strongly favor a justice who will abide by the Constitution

Trump is calling for term limits on members of Congress even though his party currently controls both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Voters agree more strongly than ever with the need for congressional term limits.

Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to think their presidential nominee will help congressional candidates in their party. On the other hand, just 17% of GOP voters believe the job Republicans have done in Congress will help Trump’s bid for the presidency, while 48% of Democratic voters say Democrats’ performance in Congress will help Clinton.

Ted Cruz was the first Republican hopeful to announce for the presidency 19 months ago. Clinton was the first Democrat in the race less than a month later. Voters say this year’s presidential campaign has been too long.

In other surveys last week:

-- Thirty-one percent (31%) of voters think the country is headed in the right direction.

-- Republican Joe Heck has lost his lead, now falling slightly behind Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada’s race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Harry Reid.

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