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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending July 15, 2017

While Washington dithers and the media obsesses on whether Russia did or didn’t, the economy – and economic confidence – continue to improve.

The latest Rasmussen Consumer Spending Update shows confidence in the economy and personal finances at or near record highs.

The Wall Street Journal reports that global investors remain bullish about the country’s economic future.

In June, as the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 10 years, optimism among voters that the U.S. economy is fair soared to new highs.

While most Americans still say they know someone out of a job, that number has fallen to its lowest level yet, as has the number who know someone who has given up on the job market.

Still, only 36% of voters think the country is heading in the right direction. But this finding ran in the mid- to upper 20s for much of 2016, the closing full year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

President Trump’s job approval ratings remain in the mid-40s.

Some are calling the president’s recent speech in Warsaw touting the values and strengths of the West Reaganesque, and voters tend to agree that Ronald Reagan, not Obama, is the president whose foreign policy example Trump should follow.

After all, only 32% felt America was safer after eight years of the Obama presidency.

But just 42% agree with Trump’s statement in the speech that “the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail; our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph.” Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree, although nearly as many (27%) are undecided.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) say it’s important for schools to teach the traditional values of Western civilization, but only 27% think most public schools do a good job of teaching those values.

Following Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, just 18% of voters feel Russia is a bigger threat to U.S. national security than radical Islamic terrorism. Still, only 22% think U.S.-Russia relations will be better a year from now.

The president has urged Congress to repeal Obamacare and fix it later if legislators can't agree on changes to it now. But while most voters agree the health care law hasn't been a success, they would rather leave it as is than throw it out completely.

Only 13%, however, really want to leave the health care law as is. Fifty-four percent (54%) feel that Congress and the president should go through Obamacare piece by piece to improve it. Thirty-one percent (31%) think they should repeal the entire law and start over again.

Democrats need to pick up at least 25 new seats to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in next year's elections, but after several high-profile losses in special elections this year, voters say that takeover is a close call. The fate of Obamacare at this point doesn’t appear to be a deciding factor.

If given a choice, most Democrats would rather have their political party run Congress than the White House, but Republicans are almost evenly divided.

The Trump administration is reportedly considering sending new suspected terrorists to the Guantanamo Naval Base prison camp in Cuba, and most voters think that’s a good plan.

The president recently tweeted a doctored WrestleMania video to highlight his differences with CNN, and the troubled network’s reaction got it in even more hot water. This week’s Rasmussen Minute looks at All the President’s Memes.

Voters are still critical of the news coverage Trump is getting and continue to believe that most reporters are out to get him.

In other surveys last week:

-- Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters think criticisms of Israeli government policies and efforts to boycott Israel are driven by anti-Semitism, but 41% believe those actions are driven primarily by human rights concerns instead.

-- Americans are closely divided over a new city of Chicago requirement that all graduating high school seniors must prove they have immediate future plans, but most agree it's up to the students, not their parents or the school system, to determine that future.

-- Just 24% of voters think most high school graduates have the skills needed for college, and even fewer (21%) think they have the skills needed to enter the workforce. 

-- Summer gas prices are surprisingly low, but most Americans think they will be paying more per gallon six months from now.

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