From Rasmussen Reports…
What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls
Saturday, December 18, 2010
President Obama and senior congressional Republicans eked out a victory this week on the bill extending the Bush tax cuts for two years, cutting the federal payroll tax for a year, and extending emergency unemployment benefits for 13 months.
Just prior to the final votes in the House and Senate, most voters still approved of the tax cutting deal between the president and Republicans in Congress, but support had slipped to 52%.
Given the experience of recent decades, it’s perhaps not surprising that 46% of all voters expect the winning Tea Party candidates to sell out and become just like other politicians. Only 34% disagree. Most Tea Party members expect those candidates to stay true, but 61% of those with no ties to the movement think the Tea Party candidates will become just like other politicians.
Just 23% of all voters now say the country is heading in the right direction. That’s the most pessimistic finding since January 2009.
While a plurality of voters continues to give Obama positive ratings on his handling of national security issues, his ratings on economic issues remain near all-time lows. Only 36% think the president is doing a good or excellent job handling economic issues.
Overall, voters still trust Republicans more than Democrats on the economy and on seven out of the 10 most important issues regularly surveyed by Rasmussen Reports.
Still, consumer and investor confidence remains higher than it was last year at this time.
Overall, at week’s end, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll finds that 44% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of Obama’s performance, while 54% disapprove.
Time doesn’t seem to be winning the new national health care law any more friends. Most voters have favored repeal of the law every week since it was passed, and support for repeal has now inched up to its highest level since mid-September at 60%. Check Scott Rasmussen’s latest video update for more in-depth analysis.
But the president may get a surprising break if the U.S. Supreme Court rules his national health care bill unconstitutional. It may even give him a boost toward reelection as Scott explains.
On the domestic front, the president this past week also signed into law a measure that, for the first time, gives the federal government the authority to regulate all foods at schools, including what's in vending machines. But most Americans would rather see that authority in someone else's hands such as parent/teacher groups or local governments.
Voters also are more concerned than ever that the ongoing Obama administration effort to close the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba will allow dangerous terrorists to go free.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is urging Congress not to pass pending legislation that would ban the transfer of terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo prison in Cuba to the United States for any reason. The administration plans to try some of those suspects in U.S. courts.
But a plurality (46%) of voters favor a ban on transferring the suspected terrorists to this country, and 63% say terrorist suspects should be tried before military tribunals rather than in civilian courts.
Voters still strongly believe that gaining control of the border should be the immigration priority. Sixty-five percent (65%) say gaining control of the border is more important in terms of immigration legislation that legalizing the status of undocumented workers already living in the United States. These numbers are consistent with findings for years.
Yet voters are evenly divided over whether young people brought to this country illegally by their parents should be viewed as breaking the law. Making a distinction between illegal immigrants and their children is at the heart of the so-called DREAM Act that some in Congress are hoping to pass before the end of the lame duck session. Scott explains in a video update.
For the first time since Obama took office in January 2009, only 35% of voters say he thinks U.S. society is fair and decent. Voters, on the other hand, are nearly twice as likely to feel that way.
It becomes a hot-button issue this time every year: Should religious symbols be displayed on public land, or is that a violation of the long-standing separation between church and state? While legal battles continue to arise, Americans still overwhelmingly support such displays, and 80% think religious holidays should be celebrated in public schools.
In other surveys last week:
-- Republicans hold a six-point lead over Democrats on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending December 12, 2010.
-- One-out-of-two Americans now use some sort of social networking site such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn or Twitter, but an overwhelming majority of Adults are concerned about the safety of personal information on these sites.
-- The federal government recently reported than 14% of the U.S. population or a record 42.9 million people received food stamps in September. But 40% of Americans still think it's too hard to get food stamps in this country, while just 17% it's too easy.
-- A sizable number of voters continue to believe that relations between Israel and the United States will worsen in the year ahead. Just 13% think America's relationship with Israel will be better in a year's time, the lowest level measure since July.
-- Americans are evenly divided when asked if the holiday season is joyful or stressful.
-- Despite the stress and the expense of shopping at this time of year, Americans overwhelmingly like the idea of giving gifts.
-- At the beginning of the week, 22% of Adults were finished with their holiday shopping, but 35% hadn’t even started yet.
-- Just over half of American adults are concerned about the safety of toys being sold this holiday season despite the fact that most have yet to buy a toy recalled for safety reasons.
-- Americans appear to be in a more charitable mood this holiday season than they were last year. Seventy-three percent (73%) of Adults say it’s at least somewhat likely they will make a charitable donation of some kind this time of year, compared to 62% yhis time last year.
-- Guess Americans have been a little nicer this year. More Adults think Santa will find them on his nice list this Christmas season compared to last year.
-- Americans appear slightly more likely to travel this holiday season than they were a year ago.
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Also, don't forget Scott's new books, In Search of Self Governance and Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System , co-written with Doug Schoen. Both can be purchased at all major book sellers including Amazon.com , Barnes and Noble , Borders , and other outlets .
Remember, if it's in the news, it's in our polls.