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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending November 11, 2017

President Trump has been making headlines during his trip to Asia, ending this weekend with stops in Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and in the Philippines.

Previous stops included Japan, South Korea and China, where in addition to trade issues, discussions of North Korean nuclear aggression were paramount, and three U.S. aircraft carrier groups converged in the region where they are conducting exercises.

Most voters welcomed Trump’s decision in January to scrap the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) mega-trade deal.Trump argued that such trade deals lower tariffs on certain nations and kill American jobs. On North Korea, voter attitudes are little changed despite the heated rhetoric between the United States and the rogue communist regime. But voters are less supportive these days of direct military action against North Korea.

The week opened tragically Sunday with a mass shooting at a Texas church that left 26 dead. The U.S. Air Force had court-martialed and discharged the killer for assaulting his wife and child, but had failed to notify the appropriate civil authorities about it.  Voters say the country needs to do a better job of enforcing gun laws already on the books rather than limiting gun ownership to government officials such as police and the military.

Following the terrorist attack in New York City six days earlier, most voters continue to believe the United States is less safe today than it was before 9/11, and their concern grows that such attacks are the biggest threat facing the country.

However, even though they think the United States has the upper hand in the War on Terror, a plurality of voters don’t give praise to Trump for it. 

Meanwhile, despite stock market jitters over concerns about tax cuts as the week closed, stocks continue to soar among their highest levels to date, the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 17 years, and consumers are ready to spend just in time for the holidays.  

Few voters know much about Trump’s new Federal Reserve Chairman appointee, Jerome Powell, but they don’t believe he is as free from Trump’s influence as he is supposed to be

For many Democrats and most talking heads, this week’s gubernatorial contests in New Jersey and Virginia, which both proved victorious for the Democratic candidates, were referenda on Trump.

As special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation continues, Democrats see the probe as an honest attempt to determine criminal wrongdoing but Republicans view it as a political witch hunt.

Two-out-of-three voters (66%) believe the Senate should vote on every person the president nominates to serve as a judge or in a government position, but they feel less strongly that it’s fair for a U.S. senator to oppose a selection based solely on ideological differences. 

In other surveys last week:

-- Even many Democrats are wondering if Hillary Clinton was really the choice of party voters last year following the release of a new tell-all book by Donna Brazile, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

-- This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the communist uprising that led to the creation of the Soviet Union. Nearly three decades after the end of the Soviet threat, 83% of American Adults  regard the discredited communist political and economic system unfavorably.

--A church in Alexandria, Virginia where George Washington worshipped is removing a plaque honoring his attendance there to avoid offending visitors and potential new members. But most Americans say, why bother? 

-- Addressing the American Newspaper Publishers Association in 1961, John F. Kennedy spoke of “a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” seeking to rule the world and whose “dissenters are silenced.”  This week’s Rasmussen Minute revisits the words of the young president silenced by an assassin’s bullets two and a half years later.

-- Thirty-four percent (34%) now think the country is heading in the right direction. 

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