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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending August 22, 2015

Trump up, Hillary down?

The weekly Trump Change feature joined the monthly Hillary Meter in our line-up beginning yesterday and for the near future at least will appear every Friday. We’ll be regularly tracking the fortunes of the two leading contenders for the major party presidential nominations.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely Republican Voters now think Trump is likely to be the Republican presidential nominee next year, with 25% who say it’s Very Likely. That compares to 27% who felt a Trump nomination was likely two months ago when he formally announced his presidential bid, a finding that included just nine percent (9%) who said it was Very Likely.

Trump shook up the Republican presidential race again last weekend with a policy paper that calls for getting tough on illegal immigration. Trump cited a Rasmussen Reports survey to back up his proposal to end automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants in this country. Fifty-four percent (54%) of voters disagree with the current federal policy that says a child born to an illegal immigrant here is automatically a U.S. citizen. 

Voters also agree with Trump on the need to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. They believe overwhelmingly, too, that illegal immigrants convicted of a felony in this country should be deported. Trump made both proposals in the policy paper.

The majority of voters still think enforcement of current immigration laws is key, but a growing number believe new laws should go on the books in order to stop illegal immigration.

We noted in a commentary last month how the media spins the immigration issue, comparing its coverage of Trump’s positions on the issue with Hillary Clinton’s. 

Speaking of Clinton, our latest Hillary Meter shows that belief she will be the next Democratic presidential nominee has dropped noticeably over the past month. How do voters rate the growing controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her years as secretary of State - a serious scandal, an embarrassing situation or no big deal? 

Bill Clinton turned 69 last week. Forty-six percent (46%) of voters still think the former president will help his wife’s bid for the White House, but that’s down from 54% a year ago. Twenty-one percent (21%) think he will hurt her candidacy, while just has many (22%) say he’ll have no impact.

President Obama earned his worst daily job approval ratings in several months this past week, but it’s far from clear if that’s a developing trend or just a bump in the road.

It’s been a year since the the president first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State group (ISIS) in Iraq, but voters still think terrorists have the winning edge. Few voters think America's relationship with the Muslim world is improving, but they are more confident now that Muslims around the world don't see the United States as an enemy.

Still, Americans are increasingly worried out about their safety on the home front, and more voters than ever think the United States needs to spend more on national security. But what does America think about women on the combat front lines? 

Americans are also definitely concerned that the unfolding economic crisis in China may have repercussions on this side of the Pacific.

Black lives matter or all lives matter? This has now become a subject of political dispute, so Rasmussen Reports decided to ask voters which is closest to their own point of view.

Despite recent anti-police protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere, most Americans have an even more positive view of their local police, but blacks are more critical than whites and other minority adults.

In other surveys last week:

— Only 28% of voters believe the country is headed in the right direction.

— Former President Jimmy Carter has announced that he is losing his battle with cancer. We asked voters to assess Carter’s presidency from 1977 to 1981.

— Voters think heads should roll following the Environmental Protection Agency’s acknowledgement that it unleashed a massive toxic waste spill in Colorado.

— Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have rolled out new plans to combat global warming by increasing power generated by renewable energy sources. But who wants to pay for them? 

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