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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending December 6, 2014

It’s often been said that there are two or more Americas within the fabric of this great nation. Racially, that’s certainly true.

The refusal of grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri and on Staten Island in New York to indict white police officers following the deaths of two young black men has highlighted this division. Many had high hopes that the election of the nation’s first black president would help heal our racial wounds, but just eight percent (8%) think race relations in America are better since Barack Obama became president in 2009. That’s something that blacks, whites and other minority Americans agree on.

But while 54% of whites think the U.S. justice system is fair to blacks, 84% of black voters consider the justice system unfair to them

Eighty-two percent (82%) of black voters think most black Americans receive unfair treatment from the police. White voters by a 56% to 30% margin don’t believe that’s true.

In the Ferguson case, 59% of blacks think white police officer Darren Wilson should be charged with murder for the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown.Just 15% of whites agree.

Similar racial divides are found on a number of key issues, with blacks more favorable to a big government approach than whites are. Black voters also continue to overwhelmingly approve of the job Obama is doing as president, while most whites disapprove.

That disapproval is expected to cost the president’s party another seat in the U.S. Senate when Louisiana voters choose in a runoff election today between incumbent Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu and her Republican challenger, Congressman Bill Cassidy.

Republicans are still out front on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

While his party took a shellacking at the polls in early November, the president’s monthly job approval held steady at 47% for the third month in a row. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.

Nearly half of voters want Congress to stop the president’s new plan to protect up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation. Americans rate their citizenship highly and aren’t keen on putting many of those here illegally on the path to citizenship.

Thirty-six percent (36%) of voters now give the president good or excellent ratings for his handling of issues related to immigration, his highest positive ratings since late January. Forty-eight percent (48%) still say the president is doing a poor job in this area.

Many voters expect the new Republican Congress to repeal Obamacare, but for the first time, most want to fix the new national health care law rather than repeal it.

 Voters remain closely divided on the issue of gun control, but they also continue to strongly believe it would be bad for the country if only police and other government officials were allowed to have guns. 

 The Rasmussen Employment Index which measures worker confidence jumped to a six-year high in November, correctly predicting the upbeat jobs report released by the federal government on Friday.

One-out-of-two working Americans expect a pay raise in the coming year. But fewer of these employed adults are confident that their next job will be better than the one they've got now.

Consumer confidence remains lukewarm this holiday season, but investors are definitely feeling more upbeat.

More Americans than ever are doing their holiday shopping online, but they’re also highly concerned about cyberattacks from abroad. Voters feel more strongly than ever that these cyberattacks – the most recent ones allegedly from Iran and North Korea - should be considered acts of war.

 In other surveys last week:

 -- Just 25% of Likely Voters think the country is heading in the right direction. The number of voters who think the country is on the right course has been below 30% most weeks since June of last year.

  -- But few Americans have ever thought about giving up their U.S. citizenship.

  -- The number of Americans who have started their holiday shopping jumped dramatically following the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales weekend.

  -- Here’s a closer look at those Black Friday sales.

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