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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending July 19, 2014

These are not happy times for President Obama and his party, although it’s far from clear if Republicans can capitalize on that.

One-in-three voters (32%) think the president should be impeached and removed from office. But most voters think electing an opposition Congress is the better way to halt or change his policies.

However, as Kyle Kondik points out in his commentary this week, that may be easier said than done, requiring Republicans to do something they haven’t done since 1980.

The GOP needs a net gain of six seats to take charge of the Senate, but more voters than ever think U.S. elections are rigged to favor incumbents.

Democrats have just a one-point edge on the latest Generic Congressional Ballot, but they’ve held a narrow lead on the ballot for most weeks this year.

On the plus side for the GOP, favorable views of the president’s new national health care law now tie their low for the year. Only 11% say they have been helped by Obamacare.

Then there’s the wave of young illegal immigrants that’s hit our southern border in recent weeks. Most voters want to send them home as quickly as possible, while the Obama administration searches for places to move these illegals all over the country. But even Maryland’s liberal Governor Martin O’Malley who has his eye on the presidency has told Obama not to ship them to his state. That’s no surprise since 57% of voters nationwide oppose housing these illegal immigrants in their home state.

[O’Malley, by the way, still has a lot of convincing to do – even in his home state - if he’s going to run for the White House in 2016.]

Americans have some definite ideas, too, about how illegal immigration can be stopped.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a TV interview last weekend that opposition to the president’s agenda is due in part to race. But most voters don’t buy that racism plays a big part in opposition to Obama.

It doesn’t help the president that for the second week in a row, just 25% of voters think the country is heading in the right direction, the lowest finding this year.

More Americans than ever say they owe more money than they did last year.

With inflation worries at recent highs, the number of Americans who are paying more for groceries also has risen to its highest level in over two years. There's an increasing lack of confidence, too, that the Federal Reserve Board can keep inflation under control.

Fifty-one percent (51%) still say, looking back, that the bailouts of the financial industry were bad for the United States. Despite those bailouts, just half (50%) of Americans are confident in the nation’s banking system, compared to the 68% who felt that way in July 1968 just before the Wall Street meltdown.

Half of voters continue to believe that there is a conflict between economic growth and fairness, and most still consider growth to be more important. However, the number who consider fairness more important continues to inch up, and those voters favor the president.

Perceptions of the housing market remain perhaps the best thing Obama has going for him these days. Homeowners are more confident about their home’s current value than they’ve been in several years. A record number of homeowners now say their home is worth more than what they still owe on it.

Fewer Americans believe this month that it’s a good time to sell a house in their area, but still the level of confidence in the local housing market is higher than it has been for several years.

The level of consumer and investor confidence also remains higher than it has been for much of the time since the meltdown.

And through it all, the president continues to earn the same daily job approval numbers he’s gotten for most of his time in office.

In other surveys this week:

-- Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker have proposed bipartisan legislation to reform the U.S. criminal justice system, in part to reduce the U.S. prison population. But while most voters agree with restoring voting rights to non-violent felons, they are less enthusiastic about requiring all states to raise the minimum age someone can be tried as an adult.

-- Appointed Republican Senator Tim Scott holds a big lead over Democrat Joyce Dickerson in his first election bid for a full Senate term in South Carolina.

-- An increasing number (48%) of voters are voicing support for gay marriage.

-- Republican Mary Fallin is in a surprisingly close contest for reelection in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the 2014 gubernatorial race in Oklahoma.

-- Even as Detroiters vote on a bankruptcy plan that would make major cuts in retired public employee benefits, voters nationwide aren’t overly optimistic about the Motor City’s chances of recovery.

-- Americans still strongly prefer a traditional printed book to reading on an electronic device like a Kindle or a Nook.

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