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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending March 3, 2018

It was just another week in Trumpsylvania, with politics as usual coloring voters’ reactions.

If the 2020 election were held today, President Trump would carry Republicans and unaffiliated voters, but Democrats would reject him in droves. Joe Biden remains the early favorite in a crowded Democratic field to challenge the president’s reelection.

Love him or hate him, voters on both sides of the political aisle agree Trump is charting the course for the country, and no one else is even close.

With his daily job approval ratings continuing to run better than Barack Obama’s at this stage of his presidency, Trump has imposed extensive new economic sanctions on North Korea to discourage that country's development of nuclear weapons.  

Republicans approve of the way the president is handling North Korea; Democrats don’t. Fears of a North Korean attack have been lessening here, however. 

Trump is also initiating tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to protect U.S. manufacturers. Voters by a two-to-one margin favor tariffs on goods from countries that pay very low wages to their workers

The president has threatened to pull border control enforcement agencies out of California because of the state’s refusal to enforce most illegal immigration laws, and only 45% of voters oppose the idea. 

Following last month’s school massacre in Florida, Trump has proposed giving bonuses to teachers who are specially trained to have guns in schools, and most Americans with school-aged children favor his proposal.

Most Americans in general think the man who killed 17 last month at a Florida high school should get the death penalty if convicted.

A majority also believes that the failure of government agencies to respond to numerous warning signs from the prospective killer is more to blame for the mass shooting than a lack of adequate gun control.

The latest Rasmussen Minute looks at how Americans rate the performance of the local sheriff’s department up to and during the high school killings.

Most continue to feel, too, that violent video games and movies make America a more hostile place.

But just 13% say limits on violent movies and video games would do the most to reduce incidents like the one in Florida. Forty-one percent (41%) believe stricter gun control laws would do the most to reduce the number of mass murders, while just as many (40%) say more action to treat mental health issues would make the biggest difference.

Americans aren’t convinced, however, that stricter gun laws will reduce crime and don’t trust the government to enforce those laws. 

Amid renewed calls for stricter gun control, most who have guns at home say it makes them feel safer.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters still hold a favorable opinion of the National Rifle Association (NRA), although that’s down from 54% two years ago.

The Department of Justice’s inspector general is reportedly set to release a report charging former FBI Deputy Direct Andrew McCabe with leaking to the media and misleading investigators who were probing his actions. Voters think a special prosecutor is needed to see if the FBI has been playing politics.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday in a case that could have huge ramifications for unions. Most voters don’t think non-union members should have to pay dues which is the main argument in the Janus v. AFSCME case. 

Just 32% think most organized labor leaders do a good job representing union members.

In other surveys last week:

— Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters feel the country is headed in the right direction.

Americans are slightly further ahead in the income tax-filing process than they were at this time a year ago.

— While police officers continue to fall in the line of duty around the country, fewer voters now think there is a war on police. Still, several states are considering a law that would make an attack on law enforcement officers a hate crime, and most voters continue to support a “Blue Lives Matter” law where they live.

Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated several times each day.

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