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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls -- Week Ending July 11, 2015

Most of the nation’s major cities have been so-called “sanctuary cities” that don’t enforce immigration laws for quite a while, but that uncomfortable fact has been under the spotlight in recent days.

Following the recent murder of a young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant from Mexico, most voters want to get tough on these sanctuary cities, calling for U.S. Justice Department prosecution and an end to federal funding.

The suspect in the San Francisco killing has a long criminal record and has been deported to Mexico several times but always manages to come back. He says he was attracted to San Francisco because it doesn't cooperate with immigration authorities.

The San Francisco incident has been cited by defenders of Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s comments about the high level of criminality among illegal immigrants. Democrats understandably have criticized Trump, but Jeb Bush and the chairman of the Republican National Committee, obsessed with the elusive Hispanic vote, also have distanced themselves from Trump’s remarks.

Interestingly, however, most voters (53%) – and 76% of Republicans - agree with Trump that illegal immigration increases the level of serious crime in America.

Voters also agree with Trump’s views on immigration more than Hillary Clinton’s.

Most voters expect biased media coverage of the 2016 presidential race, and the media response to recent immigration comments by Clinton and Trump is a good case in point.

Despite the increasing media coverage going to some of her rivals for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Clinton remains hugely ahead as far as her party’s voters are concerned 

Jim Webb, a former U.S. senator from Virginia, is the latest candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Do enough voters know who he is? How do they rate Webb's chances to be his party’s nominee?

Clinton’s campaign is increasingly focusing on Jeb Bush as the likely Republican nominee next year. Bush recently released 33 years of tax returns to the public, but do voters really want to see that many tax returns? 

For the first time in over four years, over half of voters believe that the United States is a more dangerous place than it was before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a bill to have the Confederate flag removed from the state's Capitol grounds yesterday. Forty-three percent (43%) of all voters think the flag symbolizes Southern heritage, while 39% say it’s a symbol of hatred. Twelve percent (12%) say neither.

But then it also looks like the North and South still don’t see eye-to-eye on the Civil War 150 years after it ended.

Confidence in the direction of the country jumped following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and gay marriage. We’ll be watching to see if that’s an emerging trend or just a hiccup.

But negative views of the Supreme Court are at their highest level in nearly nine years of regular surveying.

President Obama’s daily job approval rating appears to be settling back into the negative mid-teens at week’s end. 

In other surveys last week:

-- Is Congress for sale?

-- Most voters still don't believe the United States is doing all it can to develop its own energy resources, even as more than ever think America can kick its foreign oil dependency.

-- Voters appear more supportive of Obama’s proposed expansion of overtime pay than they were last year, but most still feel that business owners, not the government, should make the decisions about their businesses.

-- Puerto Rico is $72 billion in debt and can’t pay its bills, but voters oppose a federal government bailout for the longtime U.S. commonwealth.

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