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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending September 5, 2015

Saturday, September 05, 2015

These are tense times racially, and Americans don’t think President Obama and some other top officials are helping with their repeated criticism of the police.

Many hoped the election of the first black president in 2008 would help heal the racial division that has plagued this country for much of its history, but nearly half of voters think Obama has driven the races further apart instead.

Only 17% believe most politicians raise racial issues to address real problems anyway.   Seventy percent (70%) think they talk race just to get elected.

Perhaps the most visible manifestation of racial division these days is the growing tension between the police and black Americans, especially those in the inner city. Following the recent murders of white police officers in Texas and Illinois, 58% of voters think there is a war on police in America today.

Sixty percent (60%) believe comments critical of the police by some politicians make it riskier for police officers to do their jobs.  Most voters also think the media is overemphasizing shootings by the police and making cops’ jobs more dangerous.  

Meanwhile, 72% of all Americans have a favorable view of the police in the area where they live.  Just 13% think most deaths that involve the police are the fault of the policeman.  

Seventy percent (70%) of voters believe the level of crime in low-income inner city communities is a bigger problem in America today than police discrimination against minorities.  

Increasing problems in the inner city including rocketing murder rates have prompted a number of politicians to call for more government funding aimed at low-income Americans. However, most Americans continue to question the effectiveness of federal poverty programs and think too many are already dependent on the government’s dime.  

The president’s overall monthly approval fell to a low for the year in August. His daily job approval ratings remain in the negative mid-teens.

Voters still think the president and Hillary Clinton agree on most things, but they’re less confident now that Obama will endorse Clinton to be the next Democratic presidential nominee.

Voters give the edge to a candidate who would raise taxes only on the rich over one who promises to oppose all tax increases. 

Speaking of candidates, “The Donald” has moved even further ahead in Rasmussen Reports’ latest Trump Change survey. 

Trump on Thursday pledged not to run as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t win the Republican presidential nomination. That’s good news for the GOP since over a third (36%) of Likely Republican Voters say they are likely to vote for Trump if he’s a third-party candidate, with 18% who are Very Likely to do so.

Trump has seen a surge of support in part because of his tough talk on illegal immigration and has pulled the GOP field in his direction. Eighty percent (80%) of voters believe illegal immigration is a serious problem in this country, with 50% who describe it as a Very Serious one. By comparison, 63% say global warming is a serious problem, with 35% who view it as Very Serious.

A new study has found that 51 percent of immigrant households used at least one welfare program in 2012 versus 30 percent of native-born households. This echoes concerns voters expressed to Rasmussen Reports in a recent survey: 80% have a favorable opinion of immigrants who come to the United States to work hard, support their families and pursue the American Dream, but far fewer (54%) now believe that's the agenda most immigrants have in mind.

Trump is scheduled to hold a rally with fellow Republican hopeful Ted Cruz in Washington, D.C. next Wednesday to protest Obama’s nuclear weapons deal with Iran.

The president appears to have enough votes in the Senate to cut Congress out of the loop when it comes to the Iranian agreement. But voters still strongly believe that Congress should sign off on any deal with Iran before it takes effect.

Only 34% think it’s even somewhat likely Iran will uphold its end of the deal.

In other surveys last week:

-- Just 26% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction, a finding that has been trending down for several weeks now.

-- As with other highly-publicized shooting incidents in recent years, most voters see the recent murder of two on-air journalists in Virginia as a mental health issue rather than a need for more gun control.  Many wonder though what can be done to stop shootings like this.

-- It’s back-to-school time across the country. But how do Americans feel about the schools these days and the graduates they are turning out?

-- Most Americans continue to lack confidence in the Federal Reserve Board to keep interest rates down and expect to pay higher rates next year.

-- Just 18% of voters think the federal government should be responsible for the official naming of landmarks and prominent geographic features in America.

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