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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Is the “Brexit” vote a sign of things to come? Our polling certainly suggests that most Republicans at least also have had their fill of rule by out-of-touch elites.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republican voters believe GOP leaders have lost touch with the party’s base, although just 28% of Democrats believe that of the leaders of their party.

Only 27% of Republicans believe the political attitudes of the party’s voters match up with those of the party’s leaders. 

Even though Donald Trump won more votes in the primaries and caucuses than any Republican candidate in history, most GOP voters are convinced that their party’s leaders don’t want him to be elected president.

Is Trump then already a third-party candidate, running against both the Democratic and Republican establishments?

Hillary Clinton has edged ahead of Trump in our weekly White House Watch survey, but she hasn’t experienced any major bump since finally defeating Sanders for the Democratic nomination.  Trump’s support has held steady at roughly 40% through all the bad weeks the media and some Republican leaders insist he’s having.

It’s lucky for them that this year’s presidential election isn’t a popularity contest or both Clinton and Trump might lose.

Clinton and Bernie Sanders met privately last week, a meeting that went largely unnoticed in the wake of the horrific events in Orlando. Could this signal the party unity many Democrats are hoping for? 

Following the terrorist massacre at an Orlando nightclub, only 26% of voters think the country is heading in the right direction.

Voters aren’t overly enthusiastic about how President Obama and the two likely major party presidential candidates have responded to the Orlando terrorist massacre, but the president does best, especially among those who want more gun control.

Two competing narratives have emerged in the wake of Orlando: Trump and most prominent Republicans say it represents the growing threat of domestic Islamic terrorism, while Obama, Clinton and most Democratic leaders say it highlights the need for increased gun control. Eighty-one percent (81%) of Democrats and 53% of unaffiliated voters now favor stricter gun control laws, pushing overall support to a new high. Sixty-one percent (61%) of Republicans are opposed to additional gun control.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of Republicans and 53% of voters not affiliated with either major political party believe the government does not focus enough on the threat of domestic Islamic terrorism, but only 31% of Democrats share this view. Slightly more voters (36%) in Obama's party say the government focuses too much on the domestic Islamic threat, while 31% think the focus is about right.

Still, just 26% of all voters now think the United States is safer today than it was before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the lowest finding in nearly 10 years of regular tracking.  Most voters also think the government won't be able to stop further terrorist attacks on the homeland like the one in Orlando

In late March, 67% OF Republicans – and 45% of all voters - still favored Trump’s proposed temporary ban on Muslims entering this country until the federal government improves its ability to screen out potential terrorists.

But the Obama administration is speeding the vetting process for Syrian refugees so 10,000 can come to the United States this year. Most voters still don’t welcome those newcomers from Syria and fear they are a threat to the country.

A tie vote in the U.S. Supreme Court this week has effectively killed the president’s executive order to exempt up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation. Most voters have long opposed the president’s immigration amnesty plan. 

Sixty-one percent (61%), in fact, think the U.S. government is not aggressive enough in deporting those who are in this country illegally

A federal judge this week also struck down the Obama administration’s regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Most Americans think fracking can be done in an environmentally sound way and will end U.S. dependence on foreign oil. 

The president, however, continues to earn better than average daily job approval ratings. 

In other surveys last week:

-- What does America think these days about  marriage, children and parenthood? 

-- Voters under 40 are a lot more enthusiastic about an openly gay presidential candidate than their elders are. 

-- The growing number of protests at colleges and universities has a sizable number of Americans questioning whether free speech has a place on modern campuses 

-- Craft beer is gaining popularity among American drinkers, and a sizable number now say they brew their own.

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