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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending June 13, 2015

Some Americans think this checks-and-balances thing is overrated. 

President Obama who bypassed Congress to reshape his health care law and to change the nation’s immigration policy is now upset that the courts may find those unilateral actions unconstitutional. At the same time, in a separate case, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule any day now on the constitutionality of some of the subsidies provided under Obamacare for low-income Americans to buy health insurance.

The president complained earlier this week about the courts standing in his way and fired a warning shot across the bow of the Supreme Court. The system of checks and balances between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government was designed by the Founding Fathers to assure that a consensus was achieved before national legislation could be implemented.

But 31% of voters think it is more important for government to operate efficiently than it is to preserve our system of checks and balances.  

Twenty-six percent (26%) say the president should have the right to ignore federal court rulings if they are standing in the way of actions he feels are important for the country.

Over half of voters now think Obama has been less faithful to the Constitution than previous presidents when it comes to the executive actions he has taken in the White House.

The president – and leading Republican White House hopeful Jeb Bush – are apparently tone-deaf to the voters when it comes to Ukraine, too. They’re pushing for tougher sanctions on Russia over its involvement in the political crisis in Ukraine, and a bipartisan group of senators wants to do even more by sending additional military aid into the region. Voters still don’t consider Ukraine an important national security issue for America and worry more about our worsening relationship with Russia.

One-out-of-two voters (49%) believe U.S. government policies in the last five years have hurt America’s relations with most other countries. Just 28% think those policies have helped this nation’s standing in the world.


No wonder then that a sizable number of voters think it’s time for a major new political party because Republicans and Democrats aren’t getting the job done.

That’s no surprise to our regular readers because in surveying last fall, fewer voters than ever felt either major political party has a plan for the nation’s future, with most still convinced that neither represents the American people.

But do voters have more in common with 2016’s presidential contenders than they have had with the candidates in years past?

Rick Perry who recently stepped down as the longtime governor of Texas has announced that he is running again for the Republican presidential nomination, and GOP voters see him just outside the pack of early front-runners.

Lincoln Chafee who held statewide office in Rhode Island both as a Republican and as an Independent is the latest Democratic presidential hopeful, but he has an uphill battle in his bid to become the party’s nominee. 

Some pundits have suggested that liberal darling Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, should jump into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but is Bloomberg really a threat to frontrunner Hillary Clinton?

Supporters for giving the president expanded powers to negotiate trade agreements hoped to push the necessary legislation through Congress by the end of this week. Just over half (51%) of voters still believe it is more important for Congress to pass good legislation as opposed to preventing bad legislation from becoming law, but that’s the lowest level of support in nearly two years. Forty-one percent (41%) now think it’s more important for Congress to stop bad laws from being enacted.

Americans are more likely now to see free trade agreements as job killers.

The president’s daily job approval rating took a turn for the worse at week’s end. Developing trend or just a statistical hiccup? We’ll see

In other surveys last week:

-- Thirty percent (30%) of voters think the country is headed in the right direction.

-- Most voters are unaware that more legal immigrants come to the United States each year than those who enter illegally.

-- Voters still tend to see no need for more gun control in America and remain strongly opposed to a complete ban on handguns. But semi-automatic and assault-type weapons are another story.

-- Americans still overwhelmingly prefer living in a neighborhood where they have the option of owning a gun rather than living where nobody is allowed to be armed.

-- Are Americans ready to adopt the international metric system of measurement?

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