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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Business executive Donald Trump is used to making decisions. President Trump is learning politics is a more collaborative process.

On the executive level, the new president can order the go-ahead for the Keystone XL pipeline which has long been delayed for political reasons. Most voters have supported the Keystone project for years. 

But when it comes to the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, House Republicans are a house divided. At this writing, despite Trump’s ultimatum to pass Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposed replacement for the health care law, passage by the House GOP appears unlikely. Still, most voters believe big changes in the health care law are likely in the next few months

Yet while a sizable majority has long favored changes in the law, 52% of voters now worry the president and congressional Republicans will change it too much. Thirty-six percent (36%) are more concerned that they’ll change the health care law too little.

Over in the Senate, even though appellate court Judge Neil Gorsuch sailed through his confirmation hearing this week, Republicans may be forced to change the rules to ensure the confirmation of Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee. Voters remain confident, though, that Gorsuch will be confirmed and think opposition to his nomination is driven more by politics than concerns about his judicial thinking.

The president’s team hopes to get a major tax reform initiative through Congress by August, but Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated that may not be possible. Most voters have said for years that they prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes over one with more services and higher taxes.

The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and Trump hopes to cut that as part of his tax reform effort. Voters tend to see cutting the corporate tax rate as an economic plus but are evenly divided over his plan to cut it by over half.

Seventy percent (70%) believe the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending is more to blame for the size of the federal deficit than taxpayer’s unwillingness to pay more in taxes.

The president is also proposing major cuts in foreign aid. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters believe the $42.4 billion the U.S. government is slated to give in economic and military aid to other countries this year is too much.

Trump has proposed the cuts to help fund a big increase in defense spending and the repair and replacement of infrastructure nationwide. Most voters agree that any new spending must be offset by budget cuts elsewhere

Trump is expected to dismantle former President Obama’s climate change policies, but voters think the government isn't doing enough about the problem.

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee appears to have confirmed Trump’s claim that U.S. intelligence agencies wiretapped his staff after the election and that some of the information was leaked to the media. As we have noted in The Rasmussen Minute, it looks like a case of wiretapping run wild.

Forty-seven (47%) of voters believe America’s intelligence agencies have their own political agenda.

Some of that leaked material is at the heart of an FBI investigation of whether there were any ties between the Russian government and the Trump campaign. FBI Director James Comey and his agency have been the subject of a lot of unwanted publicity in recent months.

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in a Maryland suburban high school by two older students who were in this country illegally has moved the sanctuary city debate back on the front burner. Most voters don’t want to live in a community that shields illegal immigrants from the government, and many question the safety of such communities.

The Trump administration is turning up the heat on sanctuary cities. Fifty-two percent 52% of voters believe the federal government should cut off funds to cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

Americans continue to feel that too many people are getting financial help from the government and that anti-poverty programs just make the problem worse.

Most Americans think welfare programs in this country are being abused. Florida has recently proposed a bill that would cut food stamp eligibility for hundreds of thousands of residents, and a sizable number of Americans agree that food stamps are too easy to come by.

Is the auto industry poised for a good year? Thirty-eight percent (38%) of Americans are likely to buy or lease a car in the next year. That’s the highest finding in years.

Forty percent (40%) of voters say the United States is headed in the right direction. That’s the lowest weekly finding since Trump took office January 20, but it compares to 26% a year ago.

The new president’s job approval ratings were in the mid- to high 40s at the end of the week.

In other surveys last week:

-- Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans think when it comes to team sports for children, it’s more important to reward the winners than to make sure everyone is recognized for participating.

-- While ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are gaining popularity - and notoriety - across the country, the vast majority of Americans say they seldom, if ever, use either service.

-- Last summer when Uber announced that it was launching a test program of driverless cars in Pittsburgh, 17% said they would hire a self-driving car through a service like that.

-- Spring has sprung, and most Americans are in a better mood.

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