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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending December 5, 2015

When is terrorism not terrorism?

Some have charged that the Black Friday shooting incident at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was politically motivated and a domestic terror act. But some of those same folks are having a harder time concluding that Wednesday’s mass killing in San Bernardino, California was indeed the act of terrorists, despite the shooters’ ties to radical Islam. Both incidents prompted President Obama and other senior Democrats to call for more gun control.

Most Americans say no, the incident in Colorado was not terrorism. Rasmussen Reports will tell you early next week whether voters view the San Bernardino shootings as more indicative of a gun control problem or a terrorist problem.

Here’s how voters felt about radical Islamic terrorism and gun control before the horrific events in California.

Ironically, Black Friday was the biggest sales day ever for guns in this country.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump acknowledged yesterday that the terrorist incident in California is likely to make his poll numbers go up. Our latest Trump Change survey suggests there is some truth to that, with his perceived chances for the GOP presidential nomination up for the second straight survey among both Republicans and all likely voters.

But voters are evenly divided when asked which presidential front-runner – Trump or Hillary Clinton - would best keep this country safer from terrorism.

Are our individual freedoms at risk? With increasing reports that terrorists regularly use the Internet to coordinate their actions, Americans think preventing potential criminal activity online is more important than maintaining complete Internet freedom

Voters aren’t happy with Obama’s response to the recent massacres in Paris by radical Islamic terrorists but feel even more strongly that prominent Muslims need to speak out against these atrocities. Seventy-one percent (71%) think Islamic religious leaders need to do more to emphasize the peaceful beliefs of their faith

The president, however, says global warming is a greater long-term threat to the United States than terrorism, a comment Trump has characterized as “one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard in politics.” Does that mean Obama thinks his fellow Americans are a greater long-term threat to the country than terrorists are? 

The president was is in Paris this week leading the charge for an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which he says are warming the planet. But Congress has passed measures to prevent the president from reducing those emissions, arguing that his plan will severely damage an already weak U.S. economy. Most voters here continue to believe that Obama needs the okay of Congress before taking any action against global warming.

When given a choice, 63% of voters say creating jobs is more important than taking steps to try to stop global warming

The Senate late in the week voted to repeal the national health care law, but the president is expected to veto it. Voters tend to think a piecemeal approach to fixing Obamacare is better than scrapping it altogether. Just 11%, however, want to leave the law as it is.

Obama’s monthly job approval rating fell to its low for the year in November. His daily job approval ratings remain in the negative mid-teens.

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-eight percent (28%) of Likely U.S. Voters now think the country is heading in the right direction

-- Soldiers may not rank post-traumatic stress as the biggest challenge they face when transitioning back to civilian life, but an alarming number of them know someone who suffers from the disorder or are afflicted with it themselves.

-- The number of Americans who say they have begun their seasonal shopping has jumped to a record level following last week’s Black Friday sales.

-- Not surprisingly, in the midst of the holiday shopping frenzy, consumers are already saying they’re ready to give their credit cards and bank accounts a break next month, according to our latest Rasmussen Reports Consumer Spending Report.

-- One thing’s for sure: Few voters will be putting Congress on their gift list this year

-- Are you expecting a drone from Santa Claus this year? 

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