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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Just a week after the Obama administration declared its health insurance sign-up program a success, Kathleen Sebelius, the Cabinet secretary in charge of the new national health care law, announced her resignation. Mixed message or part of the plan?

Despite the administration’s claim of success, 58% of voters now have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, the highest finding since mid-November during the law’s troubled rollout phase.  

Fifty-three percent (53%) believe the quality of health care will get worse under the new law. That’s the highest level of pessimism in over three years. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think the law also will force up health care costs.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans continue to think frivolous lawsuits are driving up the cost of health care, insurance and other products and services. Supporters of the health care law fought off efforts to make tort reform a key part of it.

Given the problems with the law, a plurality (44%) believes Congress and the president should repeal it and start over again. Nearly as many (39%) think they should go through the law piece by piece to improve it. Just 15% say they should leave the law as it is. Sixty-two percent (62%) believe the law is likely to be repealed if Republicans win full control of Congress in the November elections.

Democrats continue to hold a one-point lead over Republicans on the Generic Congressional Ballot.

Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Republican voters believe Republicans in Congress have lost touch with the party’s base. By contrast, 63% of Democrats think their congressional representatives have done a good job representing their party’s values.

A retiring Democratic congressman said recently that Congress deserves a pay raise. Members of Congress earn $174,000 a year, and 63% of voters think they’re overpaid.

Fifty-four percent (54%) also disagree with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling and believe the government should control how much money individuals can give to political campaigns. Seventy-four percent (74%) think most politicians will break the rules to help people who give them a lot of money.

After all, 31% of Americans believe the United States has a crony capitalist economic system. Crony capitalism is generally considered a system in which the most successful businesses have a close relationship with influential government officials.

Seventy-eight percent (78%) consider politicians less ethical than those in other professions. Fifty-seven percent (57%) say lawyers are less ethical than others.

Most Americans (56%) still think there are too many lawyers in the country today, and just 11% agree it’s a good thing that most members of Congress are lawyers.

Only 19% of voters believe the federal government today has the consent of the governed. Just 38% think U.S. elections are fair to voters.

Speaking of elections, longtime Democratic Senator Dick Durbin has a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger, State Senator Jim Oberweis, in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Illinois.

Leading Republican hopefuls Shane Osborn and Ben Sasse are well ahead of their Democratic opponent in Nebraska’s U.S. Senate race, but Sasse runs stronger among both GOP voters and all voters in the state.

Fifty percent (50%) of voters nationwide are less likely to vote for Jeb Bush for president in 2016 because his father and brother have already served in the White House.

As for the man who currently holds the job, President Obama’s job approval ratings showed some slight improvement at week’s end but are still in double digits. 

The recent jobs report appears to have had little or no impact on the Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which remain at levels seen since the first of the year.

In other surveys this week:

-- Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters think America’s best days are in the past, although that's down from last October's high of 52%.

-- Just 30% think the country is heading in the right direction.

-- Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters believe U.S. society is fair and decent. Twenty-nine percent (29%) think society in this country is generally unfair and discriminatory instead.

-- Nearly half (47%) now think humans are to blame for global warming, although just as many (48%) still believe there is significant disagreement in the scientific community on the issue.

-- Just days into the Major League Baseball season, this year’s championship team is anyone’s guess. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox are the top fan favorites to win the World Series.

-- Seventy-three percent (73%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Girl Scouts of America.

-- Daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central's Colbert Report were Americans’ top choices to take David Letterman’s place on CBS-TV’s The Late Show . Colbert got the job.

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