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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending February 11, 2017

The slugfest continues as Democrats battle President Trump for every inch of ground.

But 57% of voters believe the opposition between the president and Democrats in Congress is due mostly to partisan politics. Just 33% believe it’s mostly based instead on honest differences of opinion.

Most voters - including half of Democrats – also agree that Democrats in Congress won't be able to halt the president’s agenda

The confirmation by the Senate this past week of three key players in the president’s Cabinet including controversial Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions are cases in point. One of those new Cabinet members, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, is now expected to begin dismantling the Obamacare. The health care law is viewed as President Obama’s number one achievement, but only 12% of voters want to leave it as is

Democrats also opposed newly-confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos unsuccessfully, but many Americans share her views on some key areas in education including school choice.

Just 29% of voters rate the performance of public schools in America today as good or excellent, and even fewer think most high school graduates these days have the skills needed for college or the workplace.

The Ninth Circuit of Appeals on the West Coast this week put the brakes on the president’s temporary refugee ban, although it appears likely the Trump administration will take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Most voters support Trump’s plan to halt these newcomers until proper vetting procedures can be put in place to screen out potential terrorists.

Democrats oppose this plan, but then they are more likely to think Muslims are mistreated in America than to think Christians are persecuted in the Islamic world. Republicans strongly disagree.

Speaking of the Supreme Court, 86% of all voters think Judge Neil Gorsuch, the new president’s first nominee to the high court, is likely to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Voters strongly support Trump’s decision to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran after it test-fired a ballistic missile and a cruise missile, both capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Most voters have consistently doubted that the Iranians would slow or stop their development of nuclear weapons as a result of the agreement the Obama administration negotiated in 2015 that ended some economic sanctions on Iran. Trump has repeatedly characterized that deal as "disastrous," but prior to the missile tests, voters were closely divided as to whether he should keep the deal or renegotiate it.

The president is receiving lots of pushback from Democrats and many in the media over his foreign policy direction. Like most major issues, voters' partisan identification colors how they view this criticism.

Trump has opened his presidency with a flurry of executive orders. But most voters still believe that when it comes to the major issues facing the nation, the federal government should only do the things Congress and the president agree on.

For the fourth straight month, the Rasmussen Reports Consumer Spending Update shows confidence in the economy trending upward.

Forty-six percent (46%) of voters think the country is headed in the right direction, compared to 28% a year ago at this time. The new finding is down just a point from 47% the week before, the highest level of optimism in over 12 years of regular surveying.

The president’s daily job approval remains above 50% at week’s end.

Only 10 days into Trump's first term, Obama issued a statement denouncing the new president's temporary travel ban on refugees. But it isn’t the first time Trump and Obama have clashed.

Bernie Sanders has the edge, but it’s a close contest when Democrats are asked who should be the party’s nominee against Trump if he seeks reelection in 2020. One-quarter of all voters say Democrats should look for a new face.

In other surveys last week:

-- More voters than ever consider the federal government a protector of individual liberty, although slightly more still view it as a threat.

-- Voters now believe even more strongly that the United States is special among the nations of the world.

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