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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending January 5, 2019

The stock market reeled again Thursday, turning largely on news of Apple’s prediction of lower profits, but was recovering yesterday after the U.S. Labor Department reported not only a big gain in jobs across the economy--312,00 for December compared to 176,00 in November--but also an average hourly earnings gain of 3.2% for the year.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans rated the economy positively last month, and most Americans remain optimistic for a good year in 2019.

While voters are overwhelmingly aware that there’s a partial shutdown of the federal government, so far at least it isn’t bothering them.

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However, perceptions of how President Trump is dealing with the economy and foreign policy have fallen slightly as his second year in office comes to a close.

As Trump prepares to pull U.S. forces out of Syria, voters' beliefs that American political leaders put U.S. troops in danger too much is at its lowest level in more than five years.

On the heels of Trump’s planned removal of troops from Syria, voters are far less likely to think the United States needs to be more hands-on in the Middle East.

The president earned a monthly job approval of 48% in December, unchanged from the month before. That’s down just one point from his high for the year of 49% reached in both April and October.

In other surveys last week:

-- Sixty-three percent (63%) of Americans said they would be at home at midnight when the new year arrived.

-- But while Americans welcomed the New Year, they aren’t heralding the holiday as one of the nation’s most important.

-- Still, Americans had faith at the beginning of 2018 that it would be a good year, and now they say it turned out to be an even better one than the last several.

-- Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters think the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest since early July.

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