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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending September 16, 2017

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Democrats and President Trump have been sparring publicly ever since a White House dinner on Wednesday evening over what consensus had been reached on how to handle immigration policy and border security. 

President Trump last week ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the so-called Obama-era “Dreamers” program, and has given Congress six months to develop an immigration reform package if it wants to protect “Dreamers" from deportation. But most voters think passage of such legislation is unlikely in the near future. In a Tweet Thursday, Trump said “No deal was made on DACA” and that “Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent.”

In fact, voters remain skeptical that real border control is on the way.

Voters are also not convinced that illegal immigrants take jobs away from Americans and tend to favor the continuation of DACA, which protects from deportation the illegal immigrants who came here as children. 

Despite their failure to advance President Trump’s agenda, congressional Republicans aren’t happy about his outreach to Democrats in the House and Senate, but most voters think it’s a great idea.

Meanwhile, Democrats are beginning to line up to challenge President Trump in 2020, and many now embrace Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan to offer taxpayer-funded Medicare to all Americans. Voters are evenly divided over whether Medicare for all is the way to go, even though they expect it to drive up health care costs.

A majority of voters lack faith they’ll receive all their promised Medicare benefits, but they remain conflicted over how to ensure the program stays afloat.

President Trump on September 8 signed a $15 billion disaster relief package for Hurricane Harvey and in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, and more voters than ever now agree the clean-up and recovery efforts in situations like these should be the federal government’s responsibility.
However, voters are leery of other types of relief.

Hartford, the state capital of Connecticut, is close to declaring bankruptcy, saying it won't be able to pay all its bills within 60 days. But just as they did when Detroit was nearing bankruptcy in 2013, Americans oppose bailout funding for cities with serious financial problems.

The president and Congress are also focusing on tax reform.

Congress is currently debating whether online retailers like Amazon should charge sales tax on purchases, even if the seller and buyer aren’t in the same state. A majority of Americans do at least some shopping online, and 66% of American Adults oppose such a sales tax.

Americans still think sales tax is the fairest type of tax they pay, but they’re nearly as likely to see income tax as both the most and least fair type of tax today.

President Trump has promised to cut taxes, and voters are generally on board, with 45% of voters say tax cuts help the economy.

Fewer voters think the president will raise taxes compared to when he was on the campaign trail. But slightly more voters see a Trump White House with more government spending.

Trump last week expressed his desire to slash the U.S. corporate tax rate from a high of 35% to 15% in order to boost job growth and help middle-class Americans. A majority of Republicans are on board with that idea, but Democrats aren’t convinced that cutting the rates will help. The United States currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrial world.

In other surveys last week:

-- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a speech last week that "every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.” Despite an outcry from some activists that looking out for both the victim and the accused sweeps the issue of sexual assault under the rug, a strong majority of Americans agrees with DeVos’ statement.

-- Hillary Clinton is back with a new book, “What Happened,” to further explain why Donald Trump is president instead of her. But most voters still don’t buy her excuses, and 61% think it’s time for Mrs. Clinton to retire

-- Most voters still think Hillary Clinton is likely to have broken the law in her handling of classified information and disagree with the FBI’s decision to keep secret its files on last year’s Clinton probe.

-- Government employees aren't always the model of perfection and have been the subject of many a scandal. Most recently, in February of this year, a handful of Transportation Security Agency agents were arrested for allegedly smuggling massive amounts of cocaine in through the TSA airport security system in Puerto Rico for decades.

-- Thirty-four percent (34%) of Likely U.S. Voters now think the country is heading in the right direction, up five points two weeks ago.

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