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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending November 17, 2018

President Trump is in California today meeting with survivors and surveying damage from that state’s deadliest wildfire in which more than 66 people were confirmed dead and more than 600 others missing.

The immediate cause of the killer conflagration is not yet known, and the ultimate cause of California’s devastating fire season remains a matter of contention, but most voters do see it as a worse fire season than usual.

Illegal immigration and health care are the priorities voters see for the new Congress, but they aren’t very hopeful that Trump and Democrats in Congress will work together. Democrats want to get on with impeachment, too. 

Trump was criticized at a summit with European leaders this week for putting America’s interests ahead of global needs. Voters still share the president’s America First attitude but not as strongly as they did when he first took office. 

Trump last week, right after the midterm elections, abruptly fired his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Democrats may not be too fond of the Alabama Republican, but they don’t agree with Trump’s decision to let him go. Republicans, on the other hand, are on board with the president.

Just over half of voters still don't want to end Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, but even more are worried that Trump's firing of Sessions is the first step toward shutting Mueller down. Democrats are far more protective of Mueller than Republicans are.

Republicans overwhelmingly view Trump as likable, and Democrats aren’t as enthusiastic about likely new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But among all voters, both Trump and Pelosi aren’t very beloved.

In economic news, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell this week highlighted the strength of the U.S. economy, and the recent ups and downs of the stock market have done little to sway Americans’ economic confidence. But they're a little less upbeat about the direction of their own personal finances. 

Despite the positive turn in the economy and job market over the last two years, faith in our children’s future has waned

FICO, the developer of the most widely used credit score, is rolling out a new credit scoring system next year that takes checking and savings accounts into consideration in addition to credit and loan accounts. This could most help those with low or no credit scores who have problems securing credit, though few Americans say they’ve been in that position recently

Looking ahead, Michelle Obama has been making the rounds promoting her new book, prompting buzz about a potential presidential run, which she has vehemently denied. But with the midterms over and the focus on 2020, voters think she’d stand a chance.

With the midterm election nearly in the books and attention shifting to the presidential election in 2020, 47% of likely voters see the 45th  president in a second term, up eight points from August.

In other surveys last week:

-- The likely new Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee now insists that he has no intention of trying to impeach new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Most voters agree with that decision.

-- The American Academy of Pediatrics this week announced a new policy statement strongly against spanking children, citing studies that find it is both ineffective as a punishment and potentially harmful in the long term. But adults don’t agree, and very few would go as far as to consider it child abuse.

-- The beloved head of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, died this week at 95, leaving behind a long legacy, including fan-favorite character, Spider-Man, among many others.

-- For the sixth week in a row, 43% of Likely U.S. Voters think the country is heading in the right direction

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

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