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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending January 7, 2017

President Obama’s flurry of last-minute domestic decisions and his foreign policy jabs at Israel and Russia have some complaining that he’s deliberately creating problems for his successor.

Obama supporters think it’s great that the president is making major policy decisions in his final days in office even though many are opposed by incoming President Donald Trump. Other voters say Obama should defer to the next president.

After all, even most Democrats want Trump to succeed as president, although voters are far less confident that things will play out that way.

Voters aren’t sure if the new Congress will be an improvement on the last one, but most want Congress to cooperate with President Trump as much as possible.

More than half of all voters now feel comfortable with the prospect of one party controlling both the Executive and Legislative branches of government

Fifty-four percent (54%) think major legislation to improve the country is likely to be passed during Trump’s first 100 days in office.

Yet while Republicans voters are strongly confident that Trump and the GOP Congress can work together to do what’s best for the American people, most Democrats and unaffiliated voters don’t share that confidence.

The media isn’t likely to be much help. Voters think the media is still showing the same bias against Trump that it displayed during the presidential campaign.

The U.S. intelligence community and senators from both parties now insist that Russian hackers did try to influence the election.  Among voters who think outside factors caused Hillary Clinton to lose in November, 21% blame Russian interference.

These conclusions are sure to impact the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings on Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for secretary of State. Only 19% of voters consider Tillerson’s business ties to Russia and to Russian leader Vladimir Putin good for America.

Russia’s alleged hacking has been one of Obama’s recent targets, but is the president playing politics with U.S. foreign policy?

With Republicans set to control both Congress and the White House, more voters than ever are expecting significant cuts in government spending. A majority of voters have said for years that spending cuts help the economy

The big consumer story this month is once again not about spending but about confidence in the economy and personal finances. The findings in both areas in our latest Consumer Spending Update are at or above the highest levels we've seen since this survey began in 2014.

Americans were less than thrilled about the way 2016 turned out but are feeling good about the year ahead

For the third week in a row, 33% of voters think the country is headed in the right direction. That’s up from the mid- to high 20s most weeks last year.

Obama in his final days in office continues to earn better daily job approval ratings than he has gotten in years. The president earned a monthly job approval of 56% in his final full month in office, tying his highest overall approval in four years.

Still, following Trump's election, voters are more optimistic about the future than they have been in over four years.

In other surveys last week:

-- Most voters turn to cable news for political coverage, and Fox News remains the top channel for these viewers.

-- A surprising number of Americans know someone who has been murdered.

-- France recently instituted a so-called "right to disconnect" law that gives those working for companies with 50 or more employees the right to "unplug" from work-related communications during their time off. Most Americans now say they work 40 hours or more a week and want their off-duty hours to be free of anything work-related.

-- Was 2016 the year of the Grim Reaper as far as celebrities are concerned? Many seem to think so.

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