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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending August 11, 2018

President Trump this week imposed new sanctions on Iran and Russia while Democrats remained focused on the possibility that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to steal the 2016 election.  Voters meanwhile aren’t overly enthusiastic about the efficacy of sanctions.

Trump on Monday signed an Executive Order, effective the following day, to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran that had been previously suspended under the 2015 nuclear agreement. Voters are cautiously optimistic that they will be effective in getting Iran to renegotiate the agreement.

The U.S. State Department yesterday announced the new sanctions on Russia for attempting to assassinate ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter living in England.

That isn’t the first time the United States has imposed sanctions on Russia in an effort to change some of that country’s aggressive policies, but voters just last month said they aren’t convinced that those sanctions have worked very well.

At a recent Senate committee meeting, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that North Korea is still producing materials for nuclear bombs, raising questions about whether the Asian nation is truly working to denuclearize following the May summit between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Voters are now less convinced that North Korea will slow or stop the development of nuclear weapons and more think Trump should be more aggressive with the nation.

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Mueller investigation prosecutors were in federal court in Virginia yesterday concluding their bank and tax fraud case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. But while voters are following news of his indictment closely, they don’t see it snowballing into criminal charges against the president.

President Trump has been tweeting about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into allegations of Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election lately, including imploring Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end what he called a “Rigged Witch Hunt.” Though most voters don’t believe the investigation is a witch hunt, 39% agree with the president that it’s time for it to end.

Following last month’s media frenzy that erstwhile Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen had taped his conversations with the president and other clients, perhaps it’s no wonder so few voters trust lawyers.

A special election in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District was held Tuesday, but as of Friday morning, it was still too close to call. The latest counts show Republican Troy Balderson, supported by a personal appearance from President Trump last Saturday, leading Democrat Danny O’Connor, 101,772 to 100,208 with provisional and absentee ballots still outstanding.

Democrats continue to lead Republicans on the latest Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot, but for the second week in a row, that lead has tightened.

Gun restrictions have become a significant issue for Democrats in the walk-up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Eight state attorneys general are fighting to stop the publication of blueprints for 3D-printed guns. Nearly half of voters think the availability of these plans will lead to an uptick in violent crime and a majority believes the United States, in general, needs stricter gun laws.

In other surveys last week:

-- With the unemployment rate still among 18-year lows and the Dow Jones Industrial Average still among all-time highs, voters are slowly giving President Trump more credit than President Obama for the improving economy, though there remains a stark partisan divide. However, voters agree that impeaching Trump would be a detriment to the nation’s economy.

-- As economic confidence stays perched among the highest levels in four years of surveying, consumers are ready to open their wallets again, just in time for the back-to-school shopping season.

-- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' rocket company reportedly plans to charge passengers at least $200,000 for its first trips into space next year. But most Americans aren’t interested in taking the trip, even if they could afford the hefty ticket price.

-- Forty-four percent (44%) of Likely U.S. Voters now think the country is heading in the right direction.

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