President Obama Back at Low on His Handling of the Economy

    NEW YORK, N.Y. – June 28, 2011 – After a few months of inching upwards, President Obama’s rating on how he is handling the economy is moving downward, tying his lowest rating ever, in of October of last year. This month just one-quarter of Americans (27%) give the President positive ratings on the overall job he is doing on the economy while almost three-quarters (73%) give him negative marks. Last month, one-third (32%) gave him positive marks and 68% gave the president negative ratings on the economy.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,163 adults surveyed online between June 13 and 20, 2011.

    The positive future for the economy is also taking a negative turn. In February, over one-third of Americans (34%) said they expected the economy to improve in the coming year, one-quarter (25%) thought it would get worse and two in five (42%) believed it would stay the same. This month, just one-quarter (26%) expect the economy will improve in the coming year, one-third (33%) say it will get worse and two in five (41%) believe it will stay the same.

    Confidence in the White House

    Along with declining job approval numbers, there is also a lack of confidence in the White House’s ability to fix the current economic crisis. Soon after President Obama took office, in March of 2009, almost three in five Americans (57%) said they were confident that the White House and the Administration would produce policies to help fix the economic crisis. Almost a year later, in June of 2010 that number had dropped to just two in five U.S. adults (39%) who said they were confident that the White House would produce policies to fix the economic crisis while 61% said they were not confident. That number continues to fall and as now two-thirds of Americans (67%) say they are not confident the White House will produce policies to fix the economic crisis and just 33% are confident.

    While nine in ten Republicans (91%) say they are not confident there is also a growing lack of confidence among Independents and even Democrats. Almost three-quarters of Independents (73%) say they are not confident in the White House’s ability to fix the economic crisis and just 27% are confident. The numbers are better among members of the President’s own party as almost three in five Democrats (59%) say they are confident, but this also leaves 41% of Democrats who are not confident in the Administration’s ability to produce policies to fix the economic crisis.

    The debt ceiling

    One thing the White House also has to deal with in the upcoming months is the issue of the debt ceiling and whether it should be raised or not. Only one in five Americans (21%) are in favor of raising the debt ceiling while almost half (45%) are not in favor of raising it. What is telling and shows how confusing the situation is, is that one-third of U.S. adults (34%) are not at all sure.

    If the debt ceiling is not raised, the government will need to at least temporarily stop paying for certain things to conserve funds. One-third of Americans (32%) say they government should temporarily stop paying civil servants while around one in ten say they should stop paying military personnel (11%), Medicare (9%) and Social Security (8%). But, over half of U.S. adults (56%) say that none of these four areas should stop receiving payments if the debt ceiling is not raised.

    So What?

    It may still be 16 months away, but the presidential election is already in full swing as the Republicans begin campaigning to see who will challenge President Obama next November. And, they are mostly all talking about one thing – the economy. This is for good reason. The American public is still anxious about how the economy is going and President Obama is the one who is getting the blame for this at the moment. How this plays out in the GOP nomination fight as well as in the general election is still up in the air, but it is clear the economy will be in the spotlight.

     

    TABLE 1

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – TREND

    Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    2010

    2011

    Jan

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    31

    32

    33

    36

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    Excellent

    5

    5

    6

    6

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    Pretty good

    25

    27

    27

    30

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    69

    68

    67

    64

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    Only fair

    31

    30

    31

    29

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    Poor

    39

    37

    36

    34

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; In February Not at all sure was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

     

    TABLE 2

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – BY POLITICAL PARTY

    Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Political Party

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    27

    5

    50

    21

    9

    28

    49

    Excellent

    5

    1

    10

    3

    2

    3

    14

    Pretty good

    22

    4

    40

    18

    7

    25

    36

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    73

    95

    50

    79

    91

    72

    51

    Only fair

    30

    16

    36

    33

    17

    36

    37

    Poor

    43

    79

    14

    46

    74

    36

    14

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

    In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    2011

    April

    May

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Feb

    June

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    39

    38

    46

    40

    34

    38

    30

    29

    28

    30

    34

    29

    34

    26

    Stay the same

    35

    35

    32

    36

    37

    34

    42

    39

    40

    40

    41

    45

    42

    41

    Get worse

    26

    27

    22

    24

    29

    28

    28

    32

    32

    30

    25

    26

    25

    33

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 4

    CONFIDENCE IN THE WHITE HOUSE

    How confident are you that the White House and the Administration will produce policies to help fix the economic crisis?

    Base: All adults

     

    2009

    2010

    2011

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Jan

    June

    June

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    CONFIDENT (NET)

    57

    57

    55

    49

    53

    44

    44

    41

    39

    33

    Very confident

    16

    17

    17

    12

    16

    13

    9

    10

    7

    8

    Somewhat confident

    41

    40

    38

    37

    37

    31

    35

    31

    33

    24

    NOT CONFIDENT (NET)

    43

    43

    45

    51

    47

    56

    56

    59

    61

    67

    Not that confident

    23

    21

    24

    25

    23

    25

    25

    26

    27

    31

    Not at all confident

    20

    22

    21

    27

    25

    32

    31

    33

    34

    36

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 5

    CONFIDENCE IN THE WHITE HOUSE – BY POLITICAL PARTY AND EDUCATION

    How confident are you that the White House and the Administration will produce policies to help fix the economic crisis?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Education

    Political Party

    H.S. or less

    Some College

    College Grad

    Post Grad

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    CONFIDENT (NET)

    33

    27

    30

    39

    49

    9

    59

    27

    Very confident

    8

    6

    8

    12

    11

    2

    18

    3

    Somewhat confident

    24

    21

    22

    28

    38

    7

    41

    24

    NOT CONFIDENT (NET)

    67

    73

    70

    61

    51

    91

    41

    73

    Not that confident

    31

    31

    35

    28

    26

    28

    29

    34

    Not at all confident

    36

    42

    35

    32

    25

    63

    13

    39

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 6

    RAISING THE DEBT CEILING

    There has been some talk recently about the debt ceiling. Are you in favor of raiding the debt ceiling, or not?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    In favor of raising it

    21

    6

    37

    22

    7

    23

    41

    Not in favor of raising it

    45

    70

    25

    49

    67

    39

    24

    Not at all sure

    34

    24

    38

    30

    26

    38

    36

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 7

    WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP PAYMENTS FOR TO CONSERVE FUNDS

    If the debt ceiling is not raised, which of the following should the government stop payments for temporarily to conserve funds? Please select all that apply.

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Civil servants

    32

    42

    25

    33

    40

    31

    22

    Military personnel

    11

    6

    14

    10

    7

    10

    17

    Medicare

    9

    13

    6

    11

    11

    11

    3

    Social Security

    8

    9

    6

    8

    7

    9

    5

    None of these

    56

    49

    62

    55

    50

    58

    63

    Note: Multiple responses allowed

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 13 to 20, 2011 among 2,163 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40315

    Q705, 710, 715, 720, 725

    The Harris Poll® #78, June 28, 2011

    By Regina Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research