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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 2, 2013

The week began with a bipartisan immigration reform plan that includes a pathway to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants already here and ended with a worsening of the national unemployment rate. Voters have little faith in their elected representatives to set either issue right.

Voters continue to favor a welcoming immigration policy and rate both border control and legalizing the status of those here illegally as important goals. However, voters are dubious that the government will actually make more of en effort to stop illegal immigration if the plan is passed by Congress. 

“Despite the broad support for the outlines of the bipartisan legislation, the prospects for its passage are far from clear,” Scott Rasmussen explains in his latest weekly newspaper column. “The reason has little to do with the immigration issue itself and everything to do with the lack of public trust in the government.”

Scott and former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint explore that trust deficit further on this weekend’s edition of What America Thinks. "Both parties have failed the country,” says DeMint, who resigned from the Senate recently to take over the Heritage Foundation. “The Democrats generally represent those things that are big - big government unions, big banks, big corporations. … The two parties are going in opposite directions. One is trying to rebuild America from the ground up; the other is trying to control it from the top down.

"Republicans don't stand true to their beliefs, or at least what they talk about,” the former South Carolina GOP senator says. “So I think the public has every reason to be disenchanted.”

What America Thinks airs on 61 TV stations nationwide. Find a station in your area.  

Regardless of their feeling on the immigration issue, most voters continue to believe America is a fair country and feel that those who move here should adopt its language and culture. 

Thirty-nine percent (39%) rate President Obama’s handling of immigration issues as good or excellent. 

Voters give the president mixed review for his policies towards big business but his policies towards small businesses are seen as much more negative

The Rasmussen Employment Index fell four points in January, but remains near the highest levels in recent years. 

The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which measure daily confidence in both groups fell back slightly at week’s end but also remain ahead of where they’ve been in recent years. It typically takes up to a full week before the impact of a jobs report is fully measured.

Fewer Americans than ever (39%) expect the U.S. economy to be stronger in five years, while the number who think it will be stronger 12 months from now is little changed from findings over the past three years. 

Not that voters have much confidence in Congress to help turn things around. While the president continues to earn high job approval ratings, Congress receives good or excellent marks for its job performance from just nine percent (9%) of voters. 

Only 32% now believe their local congressional representative deserves to be reelected, and just 25% feel that their representative in Congress is the best possible person for the job. Only 30% believe their own representative cares what his or her constituents think.

After having raised taxes on most Americans with its end-of-the-year “fiscal cliff deal, Congress can’t seem to agree on any serious level of spending cuts. Yet 62% of voters prefer a smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes than a larger one with more services and higher taxes. 

Nearly half (48%) of Americans still believe it is possible to balance the federal budget without raising taxes

Voters are still waiting for the politicians in both parties to catch up, though. That’s the point of Scott Rasmussen’s latest book The People’s Money which is now available in paperback. The New York Times bestseller highlights ways voters are prepared to address the nation’s spending challenges including support for a more focused military mission, an end to corporate welfare and more consumer choice and competition in health care.

Just over half of voters now have an unfavorable view of the president’s national health care law and still expect it to drive up the cost of health care in America. Seven-out-of-10 also believe the law is likely to cost more than its supporters have estimated.

Fifty-one percent (51%) think a company that earns most of its revenue from government is likely to be more corrupt than a company that earns most of its revenue from serving customers.  Just 17% believe a company that earns most of its revenue from serving customers is likely to be more corrupt. 

Fifty-nine percent (59%) think a company that earns most of its revenue from the government should be more strictly regulated than companies that earn most of their money by serving consumers. But voters still tend to oppose government involvement in the management of companies it does that much business with.

As America’s role in the Middle East takes center stage in the Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel, a plurality (43%) of voters believes the United States is too involved in the Middle East.  But most still think there is an ongoing worldwide conflict between the Islamic world and the West.

Most voters think women in the military should be able to fight in combat just like men do. But they still believe overwhelmingly that women need to pass the same physical tests as men if they’re in special forces like the Green Berets and Navy SEALs.

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In other surveys last week:

-- Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters now say the country is heading in the right direction. Fifty-four percent (54%) say the country is heading down the wrong track.

-- Democrats hold an eight-point lead over Republicans – 45% to 37% - on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot. Democrats have led on the generic ballot every week since Election Day.

-- A surprising number of Americans who plan to watch the big game tomorrow think the Super Bowl’s commercials are more interesting than the game itself.

-- After she was criticized for lip-synching during the president's recent inauguration ceremony, Super Bowl viewers have mixed feelings about whether Beyonce is a good choice for the halftime show

-- Forty years after the landmark Roe vs. Wade case legalizing abortion in the United States, fewer voters than ever (36%) consider themselves pro-life, while those who say they are pro-choice remains at an all-time high (54%). 

-- Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Americans eat out at a restaurant for dinner at least once a week, including 18% who go out two or more times in a week. 

-- Sixty-three percent (63%) are at least somewhat confident in the accuracy of nutritional information currently provided on menus, but that includes only 15% are Very Confident. 

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Wall Street Journal profile called Scott Rasmussen "America's Insurgent Pollster." The Washington Post described him as "a driving force in American politics."  If you'd like Scott to speak at your conference or event, contact Premiere Speakers Bureau.

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