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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Americans clearly have issues with the federal government, and shelling out a portion of their income for taxes this time of year isn’t likely to make them feel any better.

Only 19% of voters now trust the federal government to do the right thing most or nearly all the time.  Sixty percent (60%) consider the feds a threat to individual liberty rather than a protector of their rights.

With April 15 less than three weeks away, we also find that 50% don’t trust the Internal Revenue Service to fairly enforce tax laws. Part of the IRS’ image problem may stem from the lingering questions over its targeting of Tea Party and other groups. Most voters think the agency’s rogue activity was criminal and politically motivated.

But Americans are slightly ahead of last year’s pace when it comes to filing their income taxes, perhaps because they're more optimistic that they’ll receive a refund.

Not that the IRS is being much help. The head of the agency acknowledged recently that it has fielded less than half of taxpayer telephone calls this year because of its new responsibilities policing Obamacare. Voters strongly believe the IRS should concentrate on tax collection instead.

President Obama this week celebrated the fifth anniversary of Congress’ passage of his national health care law, but only 17% of voters believe the law should remain as originally passed by Congress

The president also announced that he is delaying the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan at the request of the new Afghani president. Here’s how voters feel about America’s longest-running war these days

The U.S. government last year agreed to release five Taliban leaders from the Guantanamo terrorist prison camp in exchange for the one U.S. military prisoner of war being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now the Army is charging that ex-POW, Bowe Bergdahl, with desertion. Most voters opposed the Bergdahl swap at the time

The Obama administration has accused Israel of spying on its nuclear negotiations with Iran, a charge the Israelis have denied. But U.S. voters see Iran as a bigger spying threat than Israel.

Voters remain lukewarm about the deal the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran, and 60% believe it is unlikely to slow or stop Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

Confidence that America is safer than it was before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks is at its lowest level in nearly five years.

More voters than ever believe a cyberattack would do more damage to this country than a traditional military attack.

The president’s job approval ratings took a turn for the worse this week.

Ted Cruz, the junior U.S. senator from Texas, is the first official Republican candidate in the race to succeed Obama. GOP voters are almost evenly divided this early out whether Cruz will be their party’s nominee in 2016.

Hillary Clinton is still by far the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. So who do voters think has been the best secretary of State in the last 10 years – Clinton, John Kerry or Condoleezza Rice? 

Republicans lead Democrats by just one point on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-seven percent (27%) of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction. That’s the lowest level of confidence this year.

-- Voters are in no bigger hurry than the Republican-led Senate to make Loretta Lynch the next U.S. attorney general.

-- Voters still think U.S. public schools fall short when it comes to providing a world-class education and teaching Western values.

-- Most Americans have cable or satellite TV and don’t like the service they get.

-- One-in-three cable or satellite television subscribers opt for premium cable channels, but most TV viewers are looking elsewhere to watch movies.

-- With new technology like online streaming services, Americans watch TV differently than before

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