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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending May 28, 2016

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us, a time to honor those who have given their lives for our country, although for most Americans it’s more about the arrival of summer

In surveys for years, voters consistently have given the U.S. military high positive marks.

But just 33% think the U.S. military can adequately handle the number of missions it now has. Fifty-five percent (55%) believe the military is currently overstretched.

The military notched a big win last weekend with the killing of Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, leader of the Afghan Taliban. With increasing concern about the threat of terrorism here and abroad, voters are placing more importance on the war in Afghanistan, now in its 14th year, although less than half favor keeping U.S. troops there another year.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters now believe the U.S. military has become weaker during Barack Obama’s presidency. 

Voters remain lukewarm about Obama's national security policies and expect more of the same if Hillary Clinton moves back into the White House next January. Donald Trump, if elected, will definitely change things, voters say, but not necessarily for the best.

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.

Clinton and Trump are in a near tie in Rasmussen Reports’ latest weekly White House Watch.

Clinton posts a 16-point advantage among women, but Trump leads by 12 points among men. While much has been written and said about Trump’s gender gap with women, does Clinton have a gender gap with men?

The U.S. economy historically has had an average growth rate of 3.3% but has fallen short of that number in every year of Obama’s presidency. Still, his fellow Democrats give the president positive marks for his economic performance and think Clinton would do more of the same. Trump is expected to make the economy better by all voters - except Democrats.

If the decision is pushed off until next year, voters are closely divided over which presumptive presidential nominee would make the better choice to fill the current vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here’s how voters compare Clinton and Trump on some of the other key issues of the day.

Voters now see even more anti-Trump, pro-Clinton bias in the media. 

Things remain messy for the national Democratic party, with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders refusing to exit the race for the presidential nomination. But most Democrats think their party will come together and expect an important endorsement of Clinton from Sanders.

Just eight percent (8%) of Democrats think Sanders is Very Likely to be their nominee. By comparison, 62% say Clinton is Very Likely to be nominated.

Democrats are evenly divided over whether Sanders supporters or questionable party rules are to blame for recent campaign violence.

The State Department’s inspector general, an Obama appointee, has concluded that Clinton knowingly broke department rules by using a private e-mail server for official business including top secret discussions, contradicting her earlier claims that the arrangement had been officially approved. Most voters believe it’s likely Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving classified information through the server.

Here they come, ready or not. The Washington Times reported this week that “the State Department admitted 80 Syrian refugees on Tuesday and 225 on Monday, setting a single-day record, as President Obama tries to meet his target of 10,000 approvals this year. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters oppose allowing these Syrian refugees to come to America, a new high, and even more (73%) are concerned that giving them asylum poses a national security risk to the United States.

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.

Eleven states are suing the Obama administration over its requirement that transgender school students be allowed to use any bathroom they choose. Just 32% of Americans with school-age children favor allowing transgender students to use the bathrooms of the opposite biological sex if they prefer. 

Despite the unpopularity of many of his policies, the president continues to enjoy some of the best daily job approval ratings of his entire time in office

In other surveys last week:

-- For the third week in a row, just 27% of voters say the country is headed in the right direction

-- Voters continue to have little faith in U.S. public schools and think it's mainly up to parents and the students themselves to succeed.

-- Only 21% think most high school graduates have the skills needed for college. Americans are only a bit more confident in this year’s college graduates.

-- Long lines of frustrated passengers at airports around the country have already prompted the removal of a top official at the struggling Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Americans still have a high opinion of airline safety but are definitely more critical of the TSA and airport security

-- Comedy icon Bill Cosby is guilty in the court of public opinion. 

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