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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending October 3, 2015

There’ve been some big surprises here and abroad in recent days, with John Boehner resigning as speaker of the House and Russia pitching in to defeat the radical Islamic group ISIS in Syria.

Or is that what Vladimir Putin really has in mind? After he and President Obama gave dueling speeches about Syria on Monday at the United Nations, Putin threw Russia’s military might into that country’s ongoing civil war to help his ally, embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and to fight ISIS. Obama doesn’t welcome the help since he wants to get rid of Assad in addition to defeating ISIS.

Just 11% of U.S. voters think Russia is our ally in the fight against the Islamic terrorist group, while 24% view the former Soviet Union as an enemy instead.

But few voters are very happy with Obama’s decision to transplant up to 100,000 Middle Eastern refugees to the United States by 2017 to help alleviate the refugee crisis in Europe linked to the civil war in Syria. Much of the opposition is likely driven by national security concerns. After all, Americans are already nervous about the threat of Islamic terrorism here at home.

Sharyl Attkinson explores the Syrian refugee question and other issues in her new program “Full Measure” debuting this Sunday on Sinclair Broadcasting Group stations throughout the country. Tune in to the launch of “Full Measure” with Sharyl Attkisson, featuring “Full Measure-Rasmussen Reports” polling.

Increased media attention on the Syrian migrant crisis has undoubtedly raised new concerns about the global impact of that country’s ongoing civil war, and U.S. voters are listening. But does that mean the United States should take a more active role in stemming the violence in Syria?

Meanwhile, it looks like America's longest-running war is going to keep on running. The Pentagon announced this week that it may choose to leave troops in Afghanistan beyond the previously-announced 2016 withdrawal date. So what does America think about the war in Afghanistan these days?

On the home front, Republicans feel pretty good about Boehner’s decision to resign as speaker of the House of Representatives. The key question for House Republicans now is whether they want a speaker who will fight more or one who like Boehner hopes periodic strategic wins will put the party in a better place come the next election.

Are GOP voters ready for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to go, too? Interestingly, Democrats are more opposed to the departure of Boehner and McConnell than Republicans are.

Speaking of Democrats, they’re pretty convinced that it’s only a matter of time before Joe Biden enters the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. Biden is narrowing the gap with Hillary Clinton among likely Democratic voters.

As for the presidential contest on the GOP side, the future is now for Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.

Trump added some substance to his campaign this week with the release of a major tax cut plan and has reversed his declining fortunes in Rasmussen Reports’ latest Trump Change survey.

Trump’s tax plan would lower the rates on nearly everyone and eliminate federal taxes for millions. That’s sweet music to most Americans since they have long called for tax cuts. After all, 53% think that compared to people who make more or less than they do, they pay more than their fair share of taxes.

Presidential hopefuls from both parties are making the rounds on the late-night talk show circuit in record numbers and appear to be having more success reaching younger voters through the increasingly popular medium.

Obama earned a monthly job approval of 47% in September, up a point from August’s low for the year but in line with much of his presidency. His daily job approval rating remains in the negative mid-teens.

Obamacare still hasn’t won over most voters who continue to say the health care law doesn’t offer them enough choices when it comes to health insurance. But will the law impact how voters choose their candidates next year?

In other surveys last week:

-- Twenty-six percent (26%) of voters say the country is headed in the right direction.

-- Voters are a bit more sympathetic to multiculturalism but still strongly feel that English should be the official language of the United States.

-- Is more government regulation the solution to rising prescription drug costs?

-- “Let the government handle it” is a common sentiment, but how do Americans feel about the federal government these days?

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