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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending December 1, 2018

Ninety percent (90%) of voters were glad when this year’s midterm elections were over. Now after a three-week break, it’s time for Election 2020.

Some have estimated that up to 40 prominent Democrats will enter the race for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination. Even Democratic voters aren’t thrilled by that prospect.

As recently as mid-August, former Vice President Joe Biden remained the clear favorite among Democrats out of a list of six possible contenders for the 2020 nomination. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who challenged Hillary Clinton for the party’s nomination in 2016, was a fading second.

While the better-known candidates continue to lead the pack, three-out-of-four Democrats think their party needs to turn to someone new for the 2020 race.

At the same time, more voters than ever (47%) think President Trump is likely to be reelected in 2020. Twenty-nine percent (29%) think the Democratic nominee will defeat him, while 16% expect the president to be impeached before the end of his first term.

Trump’s job approval rating remains in the high 40s, and Americans continue to feel good about the economy.

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Forty-four percent (44%) of voters say the country is headed in the right direction. This figure ran in the mid- to upper 20s for most weeks in 2016, President Obama’s last full year in office.

As the year comes to an end, homeowners are more optimistic than ever that their home is worth more than they owe on it, and they expect that value to keep rising through 2019

Americans have record confidence in the value of their homes and are more convinced than they have been in years that it’s a good market for home sellers.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) consider themselves middle class, with another 22% who label themselves upper middle class. Just four percent (4%) think they are wealthy, while 13% describe themselves as poor.

Following this week’s runoff race in Mississippi, Republicans will have an expanded 53-47 majority in the U.S. Senate. Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections earlier this month. Voters say illegal immigration and health care are the priorities for the new Congress but aren’t very hopeful that the president and Democrats in Congress will be able to work together.

Just over half (52%) of voters favor the immigration reform plan detailed by Trump in his State of the Union speech that would create a pathway to citizenship for those brought to this country illegally when they were children, build a wall on the Mexican border and change legal immigration to a more merit-based system.

Voters agree the migrant caravans approaching the U.S. southern border are a danger to the country and should be stopped at least temporarily. 

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the president’s block on granting asylum to the migrants heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats see the ACLU in a favorable light, but only 23% of Republicans feel that way.

As Republican control of the House comes to an end, even voters in their own party have little faith their representatives will take advantage of these final weeks in the lame-duck session.

As the lame-duck Congress wrestles with the level of federal spending, most voters agree a government shutdown is bad economic medicine, but they also don’t think higher spending is the answer. Very few say they’ve actually been hurt by shutdowns in the past.

In other surveys last week:

-- New York is considering a proposal that would require the government to check the social media posts going back three years and the internet searches for the past year of all gun license applicants to look for “any good cause for the denial of a license,” and voters are intrigued by the idea.

-- Just 28% of Americans say they rarely or never use social media like Facebook and Twitter.

-- Americans are getting a slower start on their holiday shopping than in years past which may have contributed to the reported lower-than-usual Black Friday sales for stores.

-- A Chinese scientist claims to have created the world’s first gene-edited twins, altering their genes to theoretically be resistant to HIV infection. Few Americans would want to clone a loved one themselves and think the whole process overall needs government regulation.

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