From Rasmussen Reports…
What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls
Saturday, January 01, 2011
Congress didn’t take much time off for the holidays, but what a difference a couple of weeks could make. Or will they?
The new Congress, with Republicans firmly in charge of the House of Representatives, will convene this coming week. The preceding congressional session with Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House closed its doors just before Christmas, with voters as critical of it as they have been for months.
For the second time this month, in fact, 60% of Likely Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the national health care law, which many in the previous Congress consider perhaps its greatest achievement.
Despite the Bush tax cut deal and the passage of the START nuclear treaty in the recently ended lame duck session of Congress, most voters still believe congressional Republicans and Democrats are behaving in a partisan manner. But the number who believe President Obama is governing like a partisan Democrat has fallen below 50% for the first time since May 2009. Voters initially expressed doubts about whether the president could work with the new GOP majority in the House, so it will be interesting to see how Obama’s partisan ratings fare in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, the number of voters who expect their own personal taxes to increase under the Obama administration has fallen to its lowest level since April 2009.
Nearly two years into the Obama presidency, voters still believe the nation’s continuing economic problems are due more to President George W. Bush than to the policies of the current occupant of the White House.
The final Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for the year found that 48% of voters at least somewhat approve of Obama’s performance, while 51% disapprove. These numbers have remained remarkably stable throughout 2010
While the deal to extend the Bush tax cuts alienated the president from many in his own party and made a lot of conservative Republicans unhappy, nearly one-in-three voters don’t even know how their local congressman voted on the recent legislation.
But then while the new Census and its impact on congressional redistricting are hot topics in Washington. D.C., only 33% of voters are Very Closely following recent news stories about them. That puts them way below the level of interest in the top stories of 2010.
Speaking of the real world, winter began while Congress was out of session, and more than one-third of Americans already say the season is worse than it has been in recent years.
Republicans hold a five-point lead over Democrats – 43% to 38% - on the Generic Congressional Ballot for the week ending December 26, 2010.
The new Congress clearly has its hands full, with Americans sending mixed signals about the short-term future. Right now, 31% of voters say the country is heading in the right direction, the highest level of optimism found since late October.
At the same time, however, adults are less optimistic about the upcoming year than they’ve been in the previous seven years of surveying just before New Year’s Day.
The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes held relatively steady at week’s end but offered little hope for economic optimism.
One potential political sore spot on the horizon is the Federal Communications Commission’s just-announced plans to regulate some Internet traffic. Voters believe free market competition will protect Internet users more than government regulation, and they fear that regulation will be used to push a political agenda.
In other surveys last week:
-- Three-out-of-four voters (73%) fear a terrorist threat more than a nuclear attack.
-- In a year loaded with news, Rasmussen Reports’ regular nightly political tracking found that voters in 2010 paid most attention to stories about unemployment and job creation, the disastrous oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, the health care debate and the extension of the Bush tax cuts.
-- The Gulf oil leak was also tops in reader interest in our regular economic surveying for 2010.
-- Most Americans still get their weather news from local television despite the variety of news sources available these days, and fewer adults believe the media overhypes the weather.
-- One-in-five voters now regularly get news and political updates on their phones or other portable electronic devices.
-- This New Year’s Eve, most Americans didn’t plan on attending a party or even a dinner, but a sizable number intended to enjoy a drink. Most adults planned to be home and wide awake at midnight to welcome the new year.
-- Here are some of the other ways Americans planned to say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011.
-- Only one-third of Americans say they’ll make a resolution for the New Year, but those who make one are sure they’ll keep it through 2011. A lot of Americans planned to watch football on New Year’s Day, too.