If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.

 

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hillary Clinton says the Trump campaign is built on prejudice and paranoia, but at a time when only 29% of U.S. voters think the country is headed in the right direction, it’s hard to conclude that things are going well. 

Even among black voters, only 15% say life for young black Americans is better now than it was before President Obama was elected.

In January 2009 just before Obama’s inauguration, 70% of Americans said race relations are getting better. Now 50% say race relations are getting worse, the highest level of pessimism ever. 

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of voters are angry at the current policies of the federal government. They’re even madder at Congress.

Just 24% trust the federal government to do the right thing most or nearly all the time, and 52% believe the feds are a threat to their constitutional freedoms. 

Democrats are less critical of the federal government than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major political party are. But then  most GOP voters (72%) and most unaffiliateds (56%) agree with former President Ronald Reagan that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Most  Democrats (53%) disagree.

Trump, if elected, plans to put an end to “nation building," a term that in recent years has been used to describe stepped-up efforts to establish democracies in the Middle East by use of the U.S. military and U.S. taxpayer dollars. Few voters believe the government's nation-building efforts have been a success, and most agree with Trump that they should be ended.

Only 30% of voters believe U.S. foreign policy in recent years has put America first.

Americans also remain skeptical of so-called “free trade,” and most believe the government doesn’t do enough to protect businesses here from overseas competition.

Trump has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA and other international free trade deals if elected president, saying they are costing U.S. jobs and killing the economy. Voters are not big fans of free trade deals like NAFTA but also strongly believe that the politicians negotiating those deals don’t care what they think.

Clinton, after long supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), has now joined Trump in rejecting that free trade agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Few voters have a favorable opinion of the TPP, but Republicans and unaffiliated voters are more critical of it than Democrats are.

Despite the support for many of his proposals, Trump has lost ground to Clinton in the latest weekly Rasmussen Reports White House Watch survey.

A new investigation by the Associated Press has found that over half the private citizens who met with Clinton while she was secretary of State subsequently donated money to the Clinton Foundation. Sixty-four percent (64%) of voters think it is likely that some actions Clinton took as secretary of State were influenced by donations made to the foundation, with 49% who say it is Very Likely. 

Americans are more negative than ever about the internet’s impact on journalism and politics.

Forty-four percent (44%) of voters under 40 - and 28% of all voters - say they mostly turn to the internet for their political news

Most voters continue to oppose the U.S. government’s decision to cede its last vestige of control over the internet to an international authority and worry that some countries may try to censor web content. 

A federal judge last Sunday evening blocked the Obama administration’s order that all public schools must let transgender students use the restrooms, locker rooms and showers they prefer. Most Americans with school-age children oppose the president’s transgender order.

With his presidency winding down to its final months, Obama continues to earn better than usual daily job approval ratings.

Rejecting the kind of student demands that have plagued many campuses in recent years, the University of Chicago is warning students not to go there if they can’t handle hearing all sides of political and academic issues. A sizable number of Americans question whether free speech has a place on modern campuses.

Only 20% of Americans feel they have true freedom of speech these days. Seventy-three percent (73%) say instead that they have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.

In other surveys last week:

-- Parents give their kids’ schools high marks, but they’re in no hurry to get them back in the classroom after summer

-- Uber has announced that it is launching a test program of driverless cars in Pittsburgh, but Americans are just as reluctant to take a self-driving car service as using one for their personal vehicle.

-- U.S. Olympic team left Rio de Janeiro with more medals than any other team, but it wasn’t without controversy. Despite some bad behavior from members of the men’s swim team, most Americans who watched the Summer Olympics believe they were good for the United States’ image abroad.

-- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Most Americans have a favorable opinion of the National Park Service and are fine with the number of national parks in the country. 

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