What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 4, 2017
Just like the presidential campaign before it, the post-election political reality is all Trump, all the time, and Americans overall are feeling pretty good about that.
While Democrats try to stall or stop President Trump’s Cabinet and Supreme Court nominees and take to the streets to protest his executive orders, 47% of voters say the country’s heading in the right direction. That’s up nine points from the week before and the highest level of optimism in over 12 years of surveying.
Fifty percent (50%) of Americans now believe the economy will be stronger a year from now, a 16-point jump from October and the highest finding since regular surveying began on the question in 2009 just after the Wall Street meltdown. Forty percent (40%) also think the stock market – already in record territory - will be even higher a year from now, significantly more confidence than we have seen in surveys for the past five years.
Americans also feel more confident than they have in several years that today’s children will be better off than their parents.
The new president’s daily job approval remains in the mid-50s, suggesting that the media is continuing to fixate more on the unhappy few rather than the more gratified many.
Still, 40% of Americans now say the election has negatively affected their personal relationship with a friend or family member. That appears to be a much bigger problem, though, for those who don’t approve of the job Trump is doing.
The biggest news of the week was the president’s nomination of federal Appellate Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Democrats who almost unanimously approved Gorsuch for the federal Court of Appeals in 2006, including then-Senator Barack Obama, now say he’s an unacceptable nominee and are threatening to filibuster in the Senate to stop him.
Voters, however, see Gorsuch in the judicial mainstream and believe that he like all of a president’s nominees should get a straight up or down vote on the floor of the Senate.
The president ended the week by imposing new economic sanctions on Iran in response to the Iranians’ test-launching of a ballistic missile and a cruise missile both capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Most voters have long questioned whether Iran will slow or stop its development of nuclear weapons as a result of the agreement the Obama administration negotiated in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.
Iran is one of seven nations the United States views as terrorist havens that are the target of Trump’s new freeze on visas. Most voters support that visa ban until the government can improve its ability to screen for likely terrorists trying to come here.
Despite continuing protests and legal challenges, voters by a 52% to 43% margin also favor Trump''s temporary refugee ban until vetting procedures can be improved.
The latest Rasmussen Minute explores voter reaction to the president’s executive order temporarily pausing the flow of refugees and visa seekers from certain countries in order to establish an “extreme vetting” system to screen out potential terrorists.
John Kelly, the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said this week that the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to help stop illegal immigration should be completed within two years. Most voters aren’t as insistent as the president but think Mexico should pay for at least some of that wall. Perhaps in part that’s because they still question Mexico’s willingness to stop illegal immigration.
Voters feel more strongly these days that Mexico is a U.S. ally but are less sure about the benefits of the NAFTA trade deal with our southern neighbor which the president has vowed to renegotiate. Many suspect the U.S.-Mexico relationship is going to take a turn for the worse over the next year.
Fifty percent (50%) of voters agree with Trump’s reported plan to dramatically reduce the $8 billion the United States gives annually to the United Nations. The United States is by far the leading contributor to the UN, an organization the Trump administration says that “often pursues an agenda that is contrary to American interests."
A survey last May found that 60% of voters agreed with candidate Trump that the United States has not been putting its own interests ahead of others and should reverse course when it comes to foreign policy.
Most voters think Trump will put America first on the world stage unlike his predecessor. Only 23% felt President Obama cared more about solutions that most benefited the United States. Most (58%) said instead that he was more concerned with what’s better for the world.
The president in one of his first executive orders put the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas back on track. Voters by a 51% to 43% margin still favor building the Keystone pipeline, but that’s lower support for the project than we have found in the past.
A majority of voters - including half of Democrats - don’t think Democrats in Congress will be able to halt Trump’s agenda.
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