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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending July 12, 2014

Americans are registering a lot of pessimism these days and clearly are wondering what’s going on along the Mexican border.

Fewer voters than ever think the nation’s best days are still to come. How low can you go in nearly eight years of regular surveying?

The number of voters who think the country is heading in the right direction is at a new low for the year.

It doesn’t help that voters have said for years that the economy is the number one issue on their minds but continue to give President Obama low marks when it comes to handling economic issues. Voters believe more government spending is the worst thing for the economy, and criticism of the president’s handling of spending issues is at its highest level in a year-and-a-half.

But then Americans also have said overwhelmingly for years that it’s important to close the border to future illegal immigration, and the federal government still won’t do it. In fact, a surprisingly large number think the Obama administration through its policies and practices has encouraged the flood of illegal immigrant children at the border, and most want those kids sent back home as soon as possible.

As to how to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, Americans have some common sense suggestions, and, surprisingly, building a wall is well down the list. 

Despite their support for increasing immigration controls, Americans view their society as fair and decent, but they also feel pretty strongly that those who come here need to adopt our culture, language and heritage.

Given voter unhappiness on the economic and immigration fronts, it’s perhaps no surprise that most voters now think Republicans are likely to win control of Congress in this November’s elections, but will it make any difference?

Picking up a Senate seat in Louisiana is key to GOP hopes, so we took a look this week at how incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu is doing against Republican challenger Bill Cassidy in the Pelican State.

Republicans still have the new national health care law in their sights as opposition to the law’s requirement that every American have health insurance remains at its highest level this year. The question, though, is: Is that opposition hurting sign-ups for health insurance through the new exchanges?

Many feel it’s hard to get a straight answer about Obamacare from much of the media, and the same goes for global warming. It’s surprising how many voters don’t believe the debate about global warming is over and don’t think much of the decision by the BBC, the Los Angeles Times and a growing number of news organizations to ban comments from those who deny that global warming is a problem.

Looking overseas, most voters want the United States to stay out of the latest flare-up between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and they worry about the impact of continuing U.S. support for Israel on our relations with other nations.

Democrats are ahead of Republicans again on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot.

The real day-to-day bottom line? The president’s daily job approval ratings and the level of confidence consumers and investors are feeling.

In other surveys this week:

-- Is the NSA spying on you or your family? 

-- How healthy do Americans feel these days? Are we getting fatter? 

-- Better yet, what do our doctors think?

-- When it comes to the issue of abortion, the number of voters who consider themselves pro-life is at an all-time high.

-- Women on the front lines and open gays in uniform – good for the military or bad?

-- Senator Lindsey Graham easily turned back several challengers in South Carolina’s Republican primary last month. How’s his race against Democrat Brad Hutto shaping up?

-- Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown has a double-digit lead over Republican Larry Hogan in the race to be Maryland’s next governor.

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