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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending October 31, 2015

Right now voters look at the presidential race and think they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump lead the contests for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations, but most voters don’t trust either one of them.

Just 52% of Republicans think the candidates running for their party’s nomination are a good cross-section of voter attitudes in the GOP. Conservatives are a lot happier with the candidates, though, than moderates and liberals are.

No wonder looking ahead to next year’s presidential contest, most voters expect more of the same: Two candidates with whom they have very little in common

Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate was a textbook example of the media bias voters have complained about in surveys for years.

Trump is still the clear leader of the GOP pack in our first survey since the debate. Most Republicans continue to think Trump is likely to be their party’s nominee.

The budget plan negotiated by Democrats and GOP congressional leaders and passed Thursday by the House despite strong conservative opposition is just the kind of thing feeding Republican voter support for outsider candidates like Trump and Ben Carson, the ones who haven’t held office before.

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was elected speaker of the House on Thursday to replace John Boehner. But a plurality (45%) of voters doesn’t expect a Ryan speakership to be much of a change. 

Clinton continues to receive millions in campaign contributions to fuel her bid for the White House; Trump’s campaign is almost entirely self-financed. Most voters continue to believe the government should regulate campaign contributions, but they also still feel that publishing the names of all contributors is more important than limiting what they give.

Looking for a big difference between the two major political parties? Most Democrats view socialism favorably; most Republicans do not.

Voters still think policies that are pro-free market are important for the economy, but are they more important than those that reduce the income gap between rich and poor?

Hard work used to be synonymous with some degree of success, but most voters think the economy now frowns on those who work hard in this country.

Just 32% of voters believe the government should require every American to buy or obtain health insurance as is now required under President Obama’s new national health care law. That’s the lowest level of support to date.

The president’s daily job approval rating continues to track in the negative teens.

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-seven percent (27%) now think the country is heading in the right direction.

-- Daylight Saving Time ends tonight, and most Americans will remember to change their clocks. But not all will change them the right way.

-- Is America a healthy nation? Is it getting healthier? We decided to find out what America thinks.

-- Halloween isn't an important holiday to most Americans, but they still think kids should be able to celebrate it in the schools.

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