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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 8, 2017

President Trump ended the week with a bang – first with an airstrike against a Syrian military airfield suspected of launching a chemical weapons attack and then with the confirmation of his first U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

It’ll be interesting to see if either of these headline events reverses the downward trend in the president’s daily job approval ratings from the high 50s in late January to the mid-40s now.

Trump earned a monthly job approval of 48% in March, down three points from 51% in his first full month in office.

Senate Republicans exercised the so-called "nuclear option" on Friday, reducing the numbers of votes needed to confirm a U.S. Supreme Court nominee to a simple majority, following unified Democratic opposition to Judge Neil Gorsuch. Most voters expected Gorsuch to be confirmed all along and said opposition to Trump's first Supreme Court nominee was driven more by politics than by concerns about his judicial thinking.

Voters think it’s unlikely the president could nominate anyone to the Supreme Court who would appeal to both Republicans and Democrats, but they still don’t like the Senate changing its rules to make it easier for a nominee to be confirmed.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Democrats and 54% of unaffiliated voters rate the Republican Congress’ leadership style as too confrontational, but only 31% of GOP voters agree.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of GOP voters say their views are closest to those of the president, while just 25% say they are more in sync with congressional Republicans.

Voters in general think Republicans in Congress are nearly as big a threat to Trump’s agenda as Democrats are.

The two former Presidents Bush and wannabe Jeb Bush have been critical of Trump. Most Democrats think the GOP should be more like the Bush family than like the president, but most Republicans disagree.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of all voters rated Syria a vital national security interest for the United States in mid-October. We’ll let you know early next week what voters think now following the Syrian government’s chemical attack on civilians and the U.S. military response.

Russia considers Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an ally, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced Trump’s bombing decision. Prior to the Syrian incident, most U.S. voters said Russia is a likely influence on Trump’s foreign policy. A plurality (46%) believes Russia is now a bigger long-term threat to the United States than China.

Still, voters are closely divided over the importance of Congress investigating whether Russia interfered with the last U.S. election, but if it does, they think the Clintons’ ties to the Russians should be part of the probe.

Trade relations between the United States and China were a hot topic at the Thursday/Friday meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida. Most voters here think the current trade situation between the two countries is better for China. Only six percent (6%) believe the United States benefits more.

The president has proposed cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly a third and dismantling nearly all of the Obama-era global warming policies. Most Republicans say creating jobs is more important than stopping global warming; most Democrats disagree. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.

In the face of the media’s unrelenting negative coverage of the president, it’s no surprise that Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to think current media coverage of political issues and events is worse than in the past.

In other surveys last week:

-- Consumers may still be riding the wave of economic enthusiasm since Trump was elected, but that consumer confidence is starting to wane. Still, it’s better than it was in the closing months of the Obama presidency.

-- This loss of confidence parallels similar downturns Rasmussen Reports has seen in the president’s daily job approval ratings and our weekly survey asking voters if the country is headed in the right direction.

-- Fifty-four percent (54%) of Americans think there are too many lawyers in this country. Just 10% say there aren’t enough.

-- The latest Rasmussen Minute looks at the relationship between the new president and his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated several times each day.

Remember, if it's in the news, it's in our polls.

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