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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 1, 2017

Americans are still sounding more confident than they did for much of the Obama presidency, but how long will it stay that way?

Confidence in the housing market continues to grow among homeowners, with 41% who think their home will be worth more a year from now.

Forty percent (40%) of Americans now expect the economy to be stronger a year from today. That’s down from 50% in January, the highest level of optimism in surveying since January 2009, but the latest finding remains higher than regular results since the fall of 2012.

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters think the country is headed in the right direction. This finding continues to fall after reaching a high of 47% just after President Trump’s inauguration in January. It ran in the mid- to high 20s for most of last year, however.

Belief that the United States has the edge in the war on terror remains higher than it has been in several years, while concern about the dangers of domestic Islamic terrorism is down.

They still have doubts, but Americans are more confident these days that they aren't being overtaxed. Still, they’ve slowed down on paying their income taxes with less than a month to go until Tax Day.

Forty-five percent (45%) of Americans believe that compared to people who make more or less than they do, they are paying more than their fair share of taxes.

Most voters continue to think the federal government is too big and too expensive, but most Democrats now disagree.

Republicans (72%) are twice as likely as Democrats (37%) to agree with former President Ronald Reagan that “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Fifty-six percent (56%) of unaffiliated votes share that view.

Voters in general also tend to view illegal immigrants as the source of more major crime and a big drain on taxpayers’ wallets.

The Justice Department has officially announced that sanctuary cities are violating federal laws and could lose billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded grants if they continue to thwart efforts to deport illegal immigrants. Most voters don’t want to live in a sanctuary community, and many question the safety of such communities.

Congressional Democrats already say they will oppose everything that the new president attempts, but most voters think the Republican-Democrat divide is going to get even worse. Just after the presidential election, voters were more hopeful than they’d been in several years that the two major political parties would work together.

Republicans give the president high marks for leadership so far. Democrats and unaffiliated voters don’t and think he’s too confrontational

The early clashes on Capitol Hill have hurt House Speaker Paul Ryan's popularity and made the Democrats' most visible congressional leader, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, more liked and more disliked.

The president in an executive order signed this week put the emphasis on domestic energy development over concerns about global warming. Most voters have said in regular surveying that the United States does not do enough to develop domestic energy sources.

Voters agreed with Trump’s emphasis on new job creation in his recent speech to Congress. Most say job creation is more important than fighting global warming.

Now the president and congressional Republicans are moving on to tax reform in hopes of making big change by August. Voters tend to see cutting the corporate tax rate as an economic plus but are evenly divided over Trump’s plan to cut it by over half.

In other surveys last week:

-- At week’s end, 43% of voters approved of the job the new president is doing.

-- In response to the growing economy, the Federal Reserve Board is cautiously raising interest rates for the first time in years. Voters are slightly less wary of the economic power the Fed chairman has, but most still think the Fed is too cozy with big banking interests. 

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