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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending January 19, 2019

To quote the Bard, the Trump vs. Pelosi show is “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” So the partial government shutdown enters a record-breaking fifth week.

President Trump on Thursday grounded an overseas junket by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats, saying they needed to stay in town to resolve the shutdown. Pelosi, meanwhile, is urging Trump to postpone his annual State of the Union speech to Congress until the shutdown ends. At issue is funding for border security and the wall that the president wants and Democrats oppose.

Most voters want tight border control and disagree with Pelosi’s charge that a wall is “immoral.” Most also continue to think that illegal immigrants are a significant strain on the U.S. budget. A plurality believes they increase the level of serious crime, too.

Half the voters in the country don’t like Pelosi, the highest ranking Democrat in Washington, D.C., but just as many disapprove of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Congress’ top Republican.

Democrats have long been less critical of their leaders in Congress than Republicans. Most Republicans are still unhappy with their congressional representatives and are less convinced of the need for Trump to work with other GOP officials.

But the president’s job approval rating also has fallen to its lowest level in a year following his recent Oval Office address calling for increased border security including the wall to help stop illegal immigration.

Now that Gallup has quit the field, Rasmussen Reports is the only nationally recognized public opinion firm that still tracks President Trump's job approval ratings on a daily basis. If your organization is interested in a weekly or longer sponsorship of Rasmussen Reports' Daily Presidential Tracking Poll,  please send e-mail to beth@rasmussenreports.com .

The good news is that the vast majority of voters say the shutdown has had no major impact on them personally. Fifty-eight percent (58%) share an unfavorable view of the government anyway.

Most also think the Founding Fathers would view the current federal government as too big. Very few of any political persuasion say the Founders would find the government too small.

However, an increasing number of elected Democrats including several presidential hopefuls are endorsing a so-called Green New Deal that calls for more government involvement in the economy. Democratic voters love a Green New Deal that would focus on climate change, income inequality and racial injustice, but other voters still aren't convinced.

Critics see many of the things proposed under the umbrella of a Green New Deal as socialist ideas that have failed in the past. While Democratic voters are intrigued by socialist solutions, they’re not willing yet to become a socialist party.

Speaking of socialists, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a new Democratic member of Congress, is the darling of many millennials. Ocasio-Cortez runs a surprisingly close race with Trump in a hypothetical 2020 presidential matchup. Fortunately for the president, she’s not old enough to run.

This past week, more Democrats who are old enough jumped into the race for the party’s 2020 nomination or at least said aloud that they’re interested in running. Even Democrats, though, aren’t thrilled at the prospect of a huge field of presidential contenders.

Trouble ahead? The Rasmussen Reports Economic Index has fallen to its lowest level since November 2017.

Another of Rasmussen Reports’ regular measuring tools has been sliding downward in recent weeks. Just 36% of voters now think the country is headed in the right direction, a finding that ran in the 40s most weeks last year. 

In other surveys last week:

-- Voters strongly believe journalists and political opponents are targets of spying by the U.S. government, and they don’t trust the judgment of the feds when they do it.

-- The current teachers’ strike in Los Angeles and those in other states last year have not cooled Americans’ support for labor unions, but they tend to favor private sector unions over those for public employees.

-- By a near two-to-one margin, Americans also continue to believe that teachers' unions are more interested in protecting their members' jobs than in the quality of education.

-- Seventy-two percent (72%) of parents with school-aged children rate the performance of their child’s school as good or excellent. But just 27% of voters rate the performance of U.S. public schools in general as highly.

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