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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending September 22, 2017

President Trump remained at center stage this week with his first major address to the United Nations.

While much was made by the media of those who walked out or otherwise jeered the president’s remarks, you can be sure world leaders were listening. Most voters here believe the United States should continue to participate in the United Nations, even though only 49% view the international organization as a U.S. ally. Fifteen percent, in fact, consider the UN an enemy.

The United States continues to give more money to the UN than any other country in the world, with U.S. taxpayers now funding 22% of the regular UN budget and 28% of its separate peacekeeping budget. Just 29% think taxpayers are getting a good return on their investment in the UN.

Sixty-six percent (66%) say the United States is a more positive force for good in the world today than the United Nations is.

Voters have more faith today that the United States will remain the world’s top superpower. But only 31% think the country is headed in the right direction. 

The president reiterated his America First foreign policy in his speech before the United Nations but also said the responsible nations of the world have an obligation to curb aggressive bad actors like Iran and North Korea. Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters think Trump is more aggressive than most recent presidents in pushing what’s best for America.

Fifty percent (50%) see Iran as an enemy of the United States, but that’s down from a high of 83% five years ago. The breakdown in most demographic categories on this question parallel those found on other political issues these days and suggest that feelings about Trump color the results regardless of what's in the news.

In July, 75% said the United Nations and the international community should do more – up to and including military action – to prevent North Korea’s further development of nuclear weapons.

Following the president’s announcement this week of economic sanctions against countries that trade with North Korea, a top North Korean official said his country is likely to do an H-bomb test over the Pacific soon. We’ll tell you next week if U.S. voters are more in the mood for military action against the rogue Communist regime.

The president of Afghanistan at the UN this week praised Trump’s new plan for the war in his country as like “night and day” compared to the war plan of the Obama administration. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters here still think it is possible for the United States to win the war in Afghanistan, up from a low of 19% four years ago, but 51% foresaw a U.S. victory in December 2009. 

After losing a major stronghold in Iraq, the Islamic State group (ISIS) may be close to defeat on the ground there, and voters here think the United States definitely has the edge on its radical rival of recent years.

Trump’s daily job approval ratings remained in the low 40s this week. 

Among Trump’s opponents are the masked, violent “antifa” protesters who have struck in several cities, but voters don’t like what the see.

Democrats are beginning to line up to challenge the president in 2020, and many are now embracing Bernie Sanders’ plan to offer taxpayer-funded Medicare to all Americans. Voters are evenly divided over whether Medicare for all is the way to go, even though they expect it to drive up health care costs.

Most voters already believe that they won't receive all the benefits the current Medicare system has promised them even as they continue to make payments into it.

Voters have been cool in the past to a single-payer health care system controlled by the government, but they seem to be slowly coming around to the idea, even though they still think it will drive up both taxes and the federal deficit.

Hillary Clinton’s latest book, released this week, offers a laundry list of reasons why she lost the election, none of which include the weakness of her candidacy or any mistakes on the part of her campaign. The latest Rasmussen Minute explores whether these are just convenient excuses or valuable post-election insights.

Just 30% of voters believe Clinton still has a future in public life.

St. Louis erupted in protests last weekend, following the acquittal of a white former St. Louis police officer who fatally shot a black man in 2011. Americans continue to believe these protests are primarily fueled by criminals taking advantage of the situation and are not an expression of legitimate outrage.

As the National Football League struggles to explain this season’s downturn in viewer ratings, 34% of American Adults say they are less likely to watch an NFL game because of the growing number of protests by players on the field.

In other surveys last week:

-- A high school in California (naturally) is discouraging students from chanting “USA” at sports events, saying it may offend some. But just 12% of voters consider the chanting of the phrase “USA” at public events as an expression of intolerance.

-- A new study from Columbia University finds suicide attempt rates among American adults on the rise, and more than half say they’ve lost someone to suicide.

-- The founder of Rolling Stone announced this week that he plans to sell the iconic music and counterculture magazine. Americans have mixed reviews of Rolling Stone, though they’re not reading magazines much these days, anyway.

Visit the Rasmussen Reports home page for the latest current polling coverage of events in the news. The page is updated several times each day.

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