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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending December 30, 2017

What has been perhaps the most tumultuous year in American politics since the Clinton administration is ending this week on a positive note for the Trump administration and most Americans.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed Thursday at another record high and up 28% since the 2016 presidential election.

At the close of the holiday season, Americans are feeling better about 2017 than they had by the end of 2016, a reflection perhaps of the record-setting level of economic confidence at year’s end.

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Trump is ending his first year in office with virtually the same job approval ratings that Barack Obama earned on Dec. 29, 2009, at the end of his first year as president. On that date, 46% of voters approved of the job Obama was doing; 53% disapproved.

Late last week, the United Nations general assembly voted 128-9 in favor of a resolution condemning U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Prior to the vote, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and the Trump administration warned the international organization that countries opposing the move could face a significant decrease in U.S. financial support. They kept their word, announcing major cuts to its UN budget for the 2018-2019 year, and U.S. voters are cautiously optimistic about the job she is doing with the international organization.

Reports at week’s end of Chinese ships violating UN oil sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons program led to a sharp response from Trump about his administration’s position on trade with China.  After his trip to Asia in November, voters were modestly optimistic on the future of Chinese-American relations.

Congressional Republicans, with Trump, have finally succeeded — after more than 35 years of debate — in authorizing oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge even though more voters than ever are opposed to it.

Voters remain strong believers in the development of new energy sources and U.S. energy independence, but support for further gas and oil development continues to fall.

Trump will soon begin to focus on his plan for upgrading U.S. infrastructure.

Even after the tragic Amtrak derailment outside Tacoma, Washington, last week, most Americans believe mass transit is safe, even if they don’t use it often.

Meanwhile, Americans aren’t as determined to start the coming year off on a new foot as they were to start 2017, with just 39% of American Adults planning to make New Year’s resolutions.

In other surveys last week:

--  Americans continue to rank Christmas as the nation’s top holiday, and most had planned to attend a religious service to honor the holiday.

--  This holiday season, the Rasmussen Minute joined none other than Charlie Brown's best friend, Linus, and America's 45th President, Donald Trump, as they teamed up to explain the true meaning of Christmas.

-- Americans will be welcoming the new year from the comfort of their own homes, though many will be sharing a kiss, too.

-- Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters now think the country is heading in the right direction.

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