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


Saturday, October 16, 2010 - Election Day is little more than two weeks away, and the political landscape is the same as it's been for months.

The majority of U.S. voters continue to favor repeal of the new national health care law

Nearly three-out-of-four voters (73%) believe it is at least somewhat likely that the law will cause some companies to drop health insurance coverage for their employees, including 47% who say it is Very Likely.

Homeowners are more pessimistic than ever than the value of their home will go down over the next year. Just 52% of adults, in fact, now think buying a home is the best investment families can make, down from 73% in February of last year. 

The attorney generals of all 50 states have jointly launched an investigation into the lending practices of several big banks and mortgage companies that led to hundreds of thousands of ongoing home foreclosures. But there's less support for a moratorium on foreclosures than they was in the past.

Meanwhile, billions in unpopular taxpayer bailouts aside, Americans continue to show a lack of confidence in the stability of the U.S. banking industry.

The Rasmussen Consumer and Investor Indexes have recovered slightly in recent weeks but are still only back to levels found at the beginning of this year.

As for overseas, a plurality of voters nationwide continues to believe the U.S. situation in Afghanistan will get worse in the next six months.

At week's end, 43% of voters said they at least somewhat approve of President Obama's job performance, but 56% disapprove in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll

All in all, not a pretty picture for the party in power and one that helps explain why Republicans hold an eight-point lead on the Generic Congressional Ballot. That means 47% of Likely Voters would vote for their district's Republican congressional candidate, while 39% would go for the Democrat.

To be more specific, at week's end, the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Senate Balance of Power rankings suggest that Democrats will hold 48 seats after Election Day, while the Republicans will have 47. Five states are in the Toss-Up category (California, Illinois, Nevada, Washington and West Virginia ). Four Toss-Ups are seats currently held by Democrats, while West Virginia is a special election to replace Democrat Robert Byrd, who passed away recently.

In other Senate races surveyed this past week:

-- ALASKA - Is Lisa Murkowski on the way to writing herself back in to the U.S. Senate? Republican Joe Miller now has 35% support, while Murkowski, the incumbent senator he defeated in the state's GOP Primary who's running as a write-in candidate, has 34% of the vote.

-- CONNECTICUT - Democrat Richard Blumenthal leads Republican Linda McMahon by just five points in a survey conducted two nights after their third and final debate.

-- DELAWARE - Democrat Chris Coons holds an 11-point lead over Republican Christine O'Donnell following the candidates' debate Wednesday night.

-- GEORGIA - Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson still holds a double-digit lead over Democrat Mike Thurmond. 

-- NEW HAMPSHIRE - Republican Kelly Ayotte for the third month in a row earns more than 50% of the vote against Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes. 

-- NORTH CAROLINA - Republican Senator Richard Burr still has a double-digit lead over challenger Elaine Marshall.

-- OHIO - Republican Rob Portman has jumped to a 23-point lead over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher.

-- OREGON - Democratic incumbent Ron Wyden continues to earn over 50% support against his Republican challenger Jim Huffman.

-- PENNSYLVANIA - Republican Pat Toomey holds a 10-point lead over Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak, the widest gap between the candidates since early April.

-- WISCONSIN - Republican challenger Ron Johnson continues to earn more than 50% of the vote against incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold.

Voters will elect governors in 37 states next month, and right now the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard shows Democrats solidly ahead in two states, with five more leaning their way. Republicans are running strongly in 17 states, and four more are leaning GOP. Six states are now Toss-Ups, including surprisingly Colorado where independent candidate Tom Tancredo appears to be drawing votes from GOP hopeful Dan Maes and now is within four points of Democrat John Hickenlooper.

This is what we found in other governor's races this past week:

-- CALIFORNIA - Coming off a bare-knuckles debate this week, Democrat Jerry Brown hits his highest level of support to date against Republican Meg Whitman. 

-- FLORIDA - Republican hopeful Rick Scott has hit the 50% mark, but the race remains one of the closest in the country.

-- HAWAII - Former Democratic Congressman Neil Abercrombie and Republican Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona are now virtually tied.

-- ILLINOIS - Republican State Senator Bill Brady leads Democratic Governor Pat Quinn by just six points in this state's crowded gubernatorial contest.

-- MAINE - A month ago, Republican Paul LePage led Democrat Libby Mitchell by nearly 20 points. Now LePage's support has fallen to a new low, putting him in a near tie with Mitchell.

-- NEBRASKA - Republican Governor Dave Heineman still leads Democrat Mike Meister by more than 40 points in his bid for reelection.

-- NEW HAMPSHIRE - Challenger John Stephen, following his Republican Primary win, bounced into a near tie with incumbent Democratic Governor John Lynch last month, but now Lynch is 10 points ahead.

-- NEW MEXICO - Republican Susana Martinez leads Democratic Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish by nine points.

-- OHIO - The race between Republican John Kasich and incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Strickland appears to be tightening.

-- PENNSYLVANIA - Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett continues to run well ahead of Democrat Dan Onorato despite a visit to the state this week by President Obama to boost Democratic candidates. 

-- SOUTH DAKOTA - Republican Dennis Daugaard continues to sit comfortably ahead of Democrat Scott Heidepriem.

-- WISCONSIN - Republican Scott Walker holds a nine-point lead over Milwaukee's Democratic Mayor Tom Barrett.

With the campaign season in full swing, voters are more cynical than ever about the promises politicians make on the campaign trail. But Democrats are far more trusting than Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

When many candidates are trying hard to avoid mention of some of the things they passed in Congress over the past year or so, their challengers have been working just as hard to tie them to their voting records. Some have cried foul, claiming this is negative advertising. But only 21% of Americans say it is a negative ad when one candidate accurately describes the position of another candidate.

Many members of Congress pride themselves on their ability to bring home pork barrel spending, but with the mood of the voters in 2010, that may not be such a good idea. 

Candidates across the country are holding debates or arguing over whether to have them, but political debates are a mixed bag as far as most voters are concerned.

With a Democratic president and Democratic majorities running both the House and Senate, it's no surprise that Democrats like the idea of one party running both Congress and the White House. Republicans and voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties are less thrilled by the idea.

In other surveys last week:

-- For the second week in a row, just 32% of voters say the country is heading in the right direction

-- Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters think finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans now consume. 

-- Half of Americans believe that life in the United States would be better if more Americans lived as Christians, but that's down significantly from two years ago. 

-- Most Americans say the country should continue to honor Christopher Columbus with a national holiday

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

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday. Scott Rasmussen , president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

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