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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

The national political conventions are over. Now the real dirty work begins.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton remain deadlocked in our latest weekly White House Watch survey.   However, the survey was taken prior to Clinton’s acceptance speech at Thursday night’s Democratic National Convention. We’ll see next Thursday if Clinton got a bounce out of her convention.

In the key state of Nevada, Trump leads Clinton 43% to 38%, with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson picking up eight percent (8%) of the vote.   This survey, too, was taken before the Democratic convention really got going but will be updated on Tuesday to see if this week’s confab made a difference.

Just 54% of voters nationwide still favor the presidential candidate they liked at the beginning of the year.

Heading into the Democratic convention, the party’s progressive wing had a lot to be fired up about, and it wasn’t the party's nominee. 

Less that half of Democrats feel Clinton has done enough to win over supporters of her primary rival Senator Bernie Sanders, but most voters in their party still think there's a good chance Sanders supporters will back her in the fall. 

Bill Clinton used to tell voters during his 1992 campaign for the presidency that they would be getting "two for the price of one" if he was elected, referring to his wife. Voters are strongly convinced that they'll get the same deal if Mrs. Clinton is elected to the White House this fall. 

Does America think the former president is ready to be the nation’s first First Man? 

Despite complaints from progressives in her party, Clinton’s decision to make Virginia Senator Tim Kaine her running mate makes little difference to voters. The 2016 presidential election has, without a doubt, been an unusual one in many ways. The vice-presidential picks are no exception.

Which political party a voter is affiliated with remains a key indicator of which cable news network they watch. Television, primarily cable, still reigns supreme for political news among voters, but voters remain skeptical of the political news they are getting.

As in previous presidential election cycles, voters expect most reporters covering political campaigns to help their favorite candidates and think it's far more likely they will help the Democrat than the Republican.  Forty-nine percent (49%) think most reporters are biased against Trump, while only 18% believe most are biased against Clinton.

France experienced another terrorist horror this week when radical Islamicists invaded a church and brutally murdered a Catholic priest.  Americans aren’t confident that France can defeat these terrorists and worry that Europe is losing the war against terrorism.

America’s own war on terror continued with the murder of another policeman, this time in San Diego, California. Given the continuing national debate over police conduct, more Americans favor requiring police officers to wear body cameras while on duty but still tend to believe they will protect the cops more than those they deal with.

Only 14% think most deaths that involve the police are the fault of the policeman.  More Americans than ever (72%) rate the performance of the police in the area where they live as good or excellent. 

Republican Joe Heck holds a nine-point lead over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in our first look at the race in Nevada to replace retiring U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

In other surveys last week:

-- Just 24% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction.

-- Still, President Obama continues to earn better-than-average daily job approval ratings.

-- Political conservatives have charged in recent months that major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are censoring their points of view. Regular users of those sites, especially those under the age of 40, strongly disagree with any attempts to close down free speech.

-- The summer Olympics are just over a week away, and Americans are gearing up to watch even though they suspect many of the participating countries are cheating.

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