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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Are U.S. troops headed back to Iraq? If so, voters don’t like it.

After ISIS chalked up major victories this week, voters are expressing more unhappiness with the way President Obama is fighting the radical Islamic State group. They’re increasingly convinced that ISIS is winning the war in Iraq.

That said, voters are less enthusiastic than ever about sending U.S. troops back into action to do something about it, even if it’s part of an international coalition.

Perhaps in part, that’s because most Americans agree that Islamic terrorism is now a bigger threat inside the United States. A growing number of voters feel the U.S. government does not focus enough on the potential threat from domestic Islamic terrorism.

Speaking of security on the home front, voters are more supportive of the National Security Agency’s practices despite the fact that a federal appeals court recently ruled that the NSA’s mass gathering of phone and e-mail data is illegal. 

With the number of overseas missions the U.S. military now has, more voters than ever think it is overstretched.

Sixty-three percent (63%) think the U.S. military would be better used along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration, the highest level of support since December 2012. 

There’s something about Iraq, too, that still stings voters. Jeb Bush, a likely Republican presidential contender, stumbled recently when asked if he would have invaded Iraq in 2003 like his brother, President George W. Bush, did. Voters are closely divided over whether the president made the right decision 12 years ago, and most still consider the Iraq war an important voting issue.

In June of last year as the security situation in Iraq deteriorated under attacks by ISIS, voters were evenly divided over whether it was the actions and policies of Bush or Obama that had contributed more to the new crisis there.

Obama’s daily job approval numbers took a slight turn for the worse at week’s end. Follow our Daily Presidential Tracking poll to see if that’s the start of a trend or just a statistical hiccup. 

George Stephanopoulos, a senior ABC News anchor, has been caught hiding $75,000 in donations to the Bill and Hillary Clinton Foundation just after he grilled on air the author of a book critical of the foundation and Mrs. Clinton. He also was scheduled to moderate a presidential campaign debate before the media found out about the donations.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters think ABC News should ban Stephanopoulos from any programming related to the presidential campaign since Hillary Clinton is running. 

Most voters already expect the majority of reporters to slant their coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Check out Kyle Kondik’s analysis of Republicans’ most vulnerable Senate seats next year.

Americans are slightly less negative about the job prospects for the latest batch of college graduates but still aren’t very confident these graduates have much to offer prospective employers.

No wonder two-out-of-three voters don’t think they’re getting a good return on their investment in the public schools.

Most also don't feel that more government spending on transportation infrastructure will help prevent incidents like the recent Amtrak train derailment near Philadelphia that killed eight people.  

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-nine percent (29%) of Likely U.S. Voters now think the country is heading in the right direction.

-- The president last Monday announced a ban on the federal provision of some military-grade equipment to local police departments, a practice nearly half of Americans oppose.

-- Americans will be hitting the road in record numbers this weekend, and most admit they've been in a traffic accident while behind the wheel.

-- They aren't overly optimistic that taking the human element out of driving with driverless cars will reduce the number of accidents. 

-- For most Americans, the Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer.

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