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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

Saturday, February 25, 2017

In this corner, the President of the United States. In the other corner, the Washington press corps. When you hear the bell, both come out swinging.

His predecessors have all at least pretended that they had respect for their journalistic adversaries. For President Trump, the purveyors of what he considers “fake news” are “enemies of the people.” Most Republicans remain angry at the media and strongly support calling out specific members of the press by name, while Democrats and unaffiliated voters are far less critical of the media than they've been in the past.

Democrats (83%) overwhelmingly blame the president for his bad relationship with the media, but 63% of Republicans think the media is more to blame. Unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.

If there’s one thing voters across the partisan spectrum agree on, though, it’s that the media isn’t trying to help Trump. That’s a big change from the Obama years. Only 10% of all voters think most reporters are trying to help Trump pass his agenda. By comparison, 48% said most reporters were trying to help President Obama pass his agenda in 2010 when Rasmussen Reports first asked this question.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of all Americans also still believe most major news organizations are more concerned with getting a story first than with getting it right.

Seventy-five percent (75%) of voters say they watch cable news networks at least occasionally for their political news in a typical week, including 25% who say they watch every day. Trust drives cable news viewership.

Following numerous leaks of secret information to the news media intended to embarrass the president, most voters think the leakers should be punished. At the same time, voters are a lot less critical of news organizations that publish top secret government information.

Voters are evenly divided when asked if the U.S. government generally does a good job protecting its secrets. But 47% think America’s intelligence agencies have their own political agenda.

Most voters suspect Russia is an influence on the president’s foreign policy but also tend to believe critics of fallen National Security Adviser Michael Flynn are more interested in scoring political points than in U.S. national security.

Fifty-four percent (54%) believe increasing the number of refugees from Syria, Iraq and other suspect Middle Eastern and African countries poses an increased national security risk to the United States. Thirty-three percent (33%) disagree, while 12% are undecided.

Most voters favor the president’s proposal to screen out immigrants to this country who don’t share our values or a belief in our basic constitutional freedoms.

The Trump administration announced this week that it is hiring thousands of new immigration and customs officers and is putting the deportation of criminal aliens on the fast track. Voters have long complained that President Obama was not sending illegal immigrants home fast enough. Now with Trump in the White House, they’re worried that too many people are being deported.

With both sides well dug in, this week's Rasmussen Minute takes a look at the U.S.–Mexico border wall battle.

The president last week appeared to back away from the longstanding U.S. policy position that a separate Palestinian state is essential to any peace settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians. But voters here tend to see a so-called “two-state solution” as key to any successful agreement.

Seventy-nine percent (79%) consider America’s relationship with Israel important to U.S. national security, including 51% who feel it is Very Important. But 27% think U.S. support for Israel hurts the United States with other countries.

If the president moves ahead with a major federal plan to rebuild infrastructure in the United States, most Americans don't think they should have to pay any extra taxes to fund it.

Nearly one-in-four Americans (23%) rate the safety of infrastructure – roads, bridges, dams, tunnels and the like – as poor in the area where they live.

In other surveys last week:

-- Forty-six percent (46%) of voters think the country is heading in the right direction.

-- The president is rolling back a recent Obama administration policy that allows transgender students to use the school bathrooms of their choice. Most Americans still agree that local school bathroom policy is not the responsibility of the federal government.

-- Trump reportedly plans to keep using the prison camp for terrorists at the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. Most voters in surveys for years have opposed Obama’s attempt to close the Guantanamo prison.

-- Hollywood is sure to trot out plenty of anti-Trump rhetoric at Sunday night’s Oscars show. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Americans think most Hollywood celebrities are more politically liberal than they are. Just 20% consider the celebrities good role models.

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.

Remember, if it's in the news, it's in our polls.

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