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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending August 2, 2014

Twenty-four percent (24%) of Likely U.S. Voters say the country is heading in the right direction. Think about that for a minute.

That’s the lowest finding this year but generally reflects the attitude of voters for months now. Admittedly Republicans and unaffiliated voters are a lot more pessimistic, but Democrats now are evenly divided. Just as many voters in President Obama’s party think the country is headed the wrong way as think it’s moving in the right direction.

Belief that the United States is winning the War on Terror has plummeted to its lowest level in over 10 years of regular tracking.

Dislike of the new national health care law is at its highest level in several months, with half or more of voters still predicting it will hurt the quality and cost of care.

Voters rate the latest immigration crisis as a bigger national security problem for this country than Russia and the renewed fighting between Israelis and Palestinians.

Most voters think the president is doing a poor job handling the flow of young illegal immigrants across the border and believe he wants to let most of them stay here despite majority support for their quick deportation. 

This potential flood of cheap labor comes at a time when more Americans than ever think it is no longer possible for just about anyone in this country to work their way out of poverty.

As for government assistance, most Americans continue to believe current government anti-poverty programs have no impact on poverty or actually increase it. A sizable number still think the large increase in food stamp recipients is just because the government has made food stamps easier to get.

In this environment, it’s no surprise that the president’s monthly job approval ratings have fallen to a low for the year His daily job approval ratings show no sign of improvement either. And we know what voters think of Congress.

Yet Americans are resilient despite their pessimism. Yes, the Rasmussen Employment Index which measures worker confidence fell another point in July. But still it’s down only two points from the six-year high it reached in May.

Consumers and investors remain more upbeat than they have been in the previous years since the Wall Street meltdown in 2008.

More Americans than ever are optimistic that they will be earning more money a year from now.

The reality is that the polls that really count are the ones that open on the first Tuesday in November.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of American Adults believe most of their fellow citizens are not informed voters, but most voters beg to differ. So what helps voters most to make up their minds – the issues or things like the candidate’s appearance, race and sex?

This week we looked at two Senate races – one close, one not so close.

Democratic Congressman Gary Peters has now taken the lead over Republican Terri Lynn Land in Michigan’s U.S. Senate race.

Unlike his cousin in Colorado, Democratic Senator Tom Udall is comfortably ahead of his Republican challenger in New Mexico

We surveyed four governor’s races that will be closely watched this fall.

Republican Governor Rick Scott and his predecessor Charlie Crist are now neck-and-neck in Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial race. GOP challenger Bruce Rauner has edged further ahead in his battle with Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn for the governorship of Illinois.

Republican Governor Nathan Deal has pulled even with Democratic challenger Jason Carter in his bid for reelection in Georgia. Republican Governor Rick Snyder runs only slightly ahead of Democratic challenger Mark Schauer in Michigan.

In other surveys last week:

-- Democrats have taken the lead over Republicans again on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

-- Voters have long expressed little enthusiasm for getting more involved in Middle East politics, but they are slightly less likely to think this involvement hurts both the region and the United States.

-- When it comes to the renewed fighting in Gaza between the Israelis and Palestinians, however, America thinks we should stay out.

-- Most Americans still consider marriage important, and those who are married rate it even more important.

-- The number of voters who consider themselves fiscally conservative continues to climb, while one-in-three say they are social liberals.

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