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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending May 20, 2016

What a campaign season! Now it appears the candidate the Democrats won’t nominate has the better chance of beating the nominee the Republicans are expected to select.

Donald Trump has grown his lead over Hillary Clinton in Rasmussen Reports’ first weekly White House Watch survey. We’ll be updating the numbers on the contest every Thursday morning until Election Day.

The new survey was taken the night before and the night after Trump’s announcement of 11 conservative judges he would consider for the current vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, furthering his efforts to unify the party and to end the #NeverTrump movement among some Republicans.

Rasmussen Reports has been running hypothetical matchup surveys between Clinton and Trump for several months.

Clinton on Tuesday eked out a primary win in Kentucky but lost the Oregon primary to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as the race for the Democratic presidential nomination took a more chaotic turn. Now, unlike Clinton, Sanders edges out Trump in a head-to-head matchup.

The Nevada state Democratic convention erupted in violence last weekend when Sanders supporters challenged party leaders over what they viewed as a rigged primary election. While Sanders has virtually no chance of capturing enough delegates to win the nomination outright, he has vowed to stay in the race until the Democratic national convention in July. Rasmussen Reports is surveying voters now about where the Democratic party will go from here. We will release those numbers early next week.

At a minimum, Sanders will be a major powerbroker at the convention, and he is Democrats’ first choice to be Clinton’s running mate.

Ben Carson and Newt Gingrich are early favorites for the Republican vice presidential nomination.

Still, while you're going to hear a lot in the days ahead about possible vice presidential candidates, voters don't place a lot of importance on the person in the number two slot.

Nearly half of voters rate illegal immigration as Very Important to their vote in the upcoming presidential election. These voters don't like how President Obama is dealing with the problem and are much more confident that Trump rather than Clinton will do a better job. 

No wonder there’s an angry debate over illegal immigration in this country. Most Democrats believe people should be able to freely enter the United States at any time. Republicans strongly disagree, as do a majority of unaffiliated voters.

The Obama administration reportedly is speeding the vetting process for Syrian refugees so 10,000 can come to the United States this year, but most voters still don’t welcome those newcomers from Syria and fear they are a threat to the country.

After weeks of escalated fighting between the Syrian regime and rebel factions, most voters here now consider Syria important to U.S. national security, but they still show little interest in getting more involved. 

Voters see Trump as a stronger military leader than Clinton, but most think they’ll be less safe no matter which of them wins the White House in November.

It's been said over the years that male political candidates need to be careful how they campaign against female opponents to avoid the appearance of bullying or sexism. But voters overwhelmingly believe a man should treat a woman candidate just the same way he would treat another man.  

Many politicians and activists claim there is a political “war on women” in America today, but voters are strongly convinced that isn't true.

The Obama administration is now pushing a directive that would require schools to allow transgender students to use whatever bathroom they prefer, but only 33% of Americans favor allowing these students to use the bathrooms of the opposite biological sex

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-seven percent (27%) of voters say the country is headed in the right direction.

-- The president continues to earn better-than-usual daily job approval ratings.  

-- The federal Food and Drug Administration recently announced that it will place strict regulations on electronic cigarettes. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Americans agree that electronic cigarettes should be regulated by the federal government the same way traditional cigarettes are.

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Remember, if it's in the news, it's in our polls.

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