Over the weekend, Rasmussen put out a summary of the week in polls, with public opinion stories ranging from the expected (Zimmerman verdict, sex scandals, and such) to the unexpected (just 29% of voters believe that in a family with children, it is good for both parents to work full-time.) Here’s a snapshot of their findings…
- Just 26% of Likely U.S. Voters now say the country is heading in the right direction. That’s down from a high of 43% the week just before Election Day and the lowest level of confidence since mid-January 2012.
- Democrats have regained their lead over Republicans on the Generic Congressional Ballot.
- Also, voters are more critical of the president’s policies toward small business and continue to believe he favors big business instead.
- Only 17% think U.S. public schools now provide “a world-class education,” down from 26% in August 2011 when the president first set this as the goal to achieve.
- But then just 25% think most high school graduates have the skills needed for college.
- 22% believe most of these graduates have the necessary skills to go into the workforce.
On health care:
- As roll out of the president’s national health care law stumbles along, voters continue to give high marks to the health care they now receive but are more pessimistic than ever about the short-term future of the health care system in this country.
- Just 24% now expect the U.S. health care system to get better over the next couple of years.
On scandals, big and small:
- Obama and his supporters may characterize the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups as a “phony” scandal,” but 59% of voters still think it’s likely the president or his top aides were aware of what the IRS was up to.
- 66% believe the decision to target the groups came out of Washington, DC, with 26% who think it was made by someone at IRS headquarters and 40% who think it was decided by someone at the White House. Belief in the Washington connection is unchanged from a month ago.
- 81% of voters consider a candidate’s personal life at least somewhat important to how they will vote.
- 57% say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who has been involved in a sexual scandal.
- Even before the latest news of sexual “texting” by New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner broke this week, half of the city’s registered voters had an unfavorable opinion of him.
- 51% have an unfavorable view of Eliot Spitzer who resigned as governor of New York in 2008 following exposure of his regular use of prostitutes. Spitzer is now running for city comptroller, New York’s chief financial officer.
- Following outrage over Rolling Stone magazine’s decision to put a sympathetic picture of the Boston Marathon bomber on its cover, 62% of Americans think the media pay too much attention to the personal lives of violent criminals.
- Most Americans see Rolling Stone’s decision to put the Boston suspect on its cover as a publicity stunt, but they recognize that the magazine has a right to publish what it chooses.
On the Zimmerman verdict and the justice system:
- Like responses to the George Zimmerman verdict itself, voters give the Obama administration mixed reviews for its reaction to the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case. But voters share the president’s concern about racial profiling.
- Only 24% of Americans believe Zimmerman’s actions which led to the shooting death of Martin were motivated primarily by racism.
- 21% believe he should now be charged with a hate crime by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Voters overall continue to believe the U.S. justice system is fairer to blacks and Hispanics than it is to Americans in general.
- 46% of all voters think the U.S. justice system is generally fair to black and Hispanic Americans, but 87% of black voters disagree.
- Voters are almost evenly divided when asked if the U.S. justice system is fair to most Americans: 43% say yes, 41% no, and 16% are not sure. Just 36% say the system of justice in this country is fair to poor Americans
- 44% of Americans agree with the jury’s verdict that Zimmerman was not guilty in the shooting death of Martin.
- 35% disagree, including 80% of black Americans.
- But 52% of all voters think if all of the other facts were the same as those in the Zimmerman/Martin case, the jury would have found a black shooter not guilty of murder if the victim was white.
- 31% disagree and believe the jury would have found the black shooter guilty of murder.
- Among blacks, however, 79% think the jury would have found the black shooter guilty. 60% of whites believe the jury would have reached the same not guilty verdict.
- 19% of all voters believe it’s a good idea for states, cities, organizations and individuals to boycott Florida over the Zimmerman verdict.
- Most voters (51%) do not know if their state is one of the many that has a stand your ground self-defense law.
- Voters favor such a law by a 45% to 32% margin, but given the lack of awareness on the subject, opinion is unlikely to be settled at this time.
On energy research:
- 48% of Likely U.S. Voters believe research by private businesses seeking a profit will do more to meet the U.S. need for affordable energy sources than research by the government.
- 38% believe government research is the better way to go.
On the economy:
- President Obama is pushing Congress to prime the pump with more spending, but most voters (62%) continue to think the government should cut spending in reaction to the nation’s economic problems.
- The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes which measure daily confidence are both down from recent highs but still are well ahead of where they’ve been in previous years since the Wall Street meltdown.
- A federal judge on Wednesday cleared the way for Detroit’s bankruptcy to move ahead, and 74% of Americans think other major cities may soon be following the same path to bankruptcy.
- 25% think the federal government should provide bailout funding for cities with serious financial problems.
- Homeowners continue to express optimism about the housing market. Only 12% now think the value of their home will go down over the next year.
- That’s the lowest finding since Rasmussen Reports began regular tracking on this question in April 2009. Just over half of U.S. homeowners still say their home is worth more than what they owe on it.
- While 55% of Americans think the institution of marriage is very important to U.S. society, they see that institution at risk in the current economy.
- Only 29% believe that in a family with children, it is good for both parents to work full-time.