Three Quarters of Americans Give President Obama Negative Ratings on His Handling of the Economy

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – October 25, 2011 – Despite some recent successes abroad, President Obama continues to struggle with how Americans perceive the job he is doing at home, particularly on the economy. This month over three quarters of U.S. adults give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of the economy (77%) while just under one quarter give him positive ratings (23%). While these numbers are fairly dismal, they do show a slight improvement from September when 79% gave the President negative marks.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011.

    Criticism on President Obama’s handling of the economy is not confined to the opinions of Republicans (95% give negative ratings) and Conservatives (93% give negative ratings). Rather, members of all political parties and philosophies currently give the president negative marks, including over half of Democrats (56%), Liberals (57%), three quarters of Moderates (76%) and over eight in ten Independents (83%). Further, Americans do not seem hopeful that this situation will reverse any time soon – almost three quarters say they are not confident that the White House and Administration will produce policies to help fix the economic crisis (73%). Additionally only one in five expects the economy will improve in the coming year (20%); 46% say it will stay the same and a third think it will get worse (34%).

    Although negative feelings abound regarding the economy, some regions of the country seem to be in worse shape than others. While almost two thirds rate the economic condition in their region of the country as bad (64%), virtually unchanged from the 65% who said so last month, there are some variances by area. Almost three quarters of Westerners call the economic condition of their region of the nation bad (73%) while fewer say the same in the Midwest (64%), South (61%) and East (59%).

    The Buffett Tax

    Recently some Americans have been protesting as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, communicating displeasure with the extreme wealth disparity in the country, among other economic and political woes. One piece of legislature, recently proposed by the Senate, could combat some of those issues. Two thirds of Americans say they support the Buffett Tax, as it’s sometimes called, which would impose a surtax on those earning more than $1 million per year (66%). This potential legislation, which 45% of Americans say they strongly support is supported (either strongly or somewhat) by 85% of Democrats, 64% of Moderates and 48% of Republicans. Interestingly those with a higher household income support the legislation more with 70% of those earning $100K per year or more supporting it, compared to lesser majorities in lower income brackets.

    So What?

    Americans are unhappy about the economy and they seem to be demanding change. And, unfortunately for the current Administration the people seem to have little confidence in its ability to bring that change. The longer this unhappiness continues, the greater the uprising will be, mostly likely at the ballot box next November. It will be interesting to see how the Obama camp and the Republican nominees cater to these financial concerns as they campaign for the 2012 presidential election.

     

    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

    Jan

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    31

    32

    33

    36

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    Excellent

    5

    5

    6

    6

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    Pretty good

    25

    27

    27

    30

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    69

    68

    67

    64

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    Only fair

    31

    30

    31

    29

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    Poor

    39

    37

    36

    34

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    2011

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    26

    21

    23

    Excellent

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    3

    2

    3

    Pretty good

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    23

    18

    20

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    74

    79

    77

    Only fair

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    33

    33

    36

    Poor

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    41

    46

    41

    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)

    23

    5

    44

    17

    7

    24

    43

    Excellent

    3

     

    7

    1

    2

    2

    6

    Pretty good

    20

    5

    38

    16

    5

    22

    37

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    77

    95

    56

    83

    93

    76

    57

    Only fair

    36

    21

    44

    40

    22

    41

    45

    Poor

    41

    74

    12

    43

    71

    35

    11

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than .05%

     

     

    TABLE 3

    RATING OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN REGION – TREND

    How would you rate the economic condition of your region of the nation?

    Base: All adults

    2008

    2009

    2011

    2011

    2011

    Nov.

    Jan.

    May

    Sept.

    Oct.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    10

    10

    18

    12

    11

    Very good

    1

    1

    4

    2

    1

    Somewhat good

    9

    9

    14

    11

    10

    Neither good nor bad

    16

    17

    23

    22

    25

    BAD (NET)

    74

    72

    59

    65

    64

    Somewhat bad

    45

    46

    36

    39

    40

    Very bad

    28

    26

    23

    26

    24

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

     

    TABLE 4

    RATING OF ECONOMIC CONDITIONS IN REGION – BY REGION

    How would you rate the economic condition of your region of the nation?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Region

    East

    Midwest

    South

    West

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    11

    14

    8

    12

    11

    Very good

    1

    3

    *

     

    1

    Somewhat good

    10

    11

    8

    12

    10

    Neither good nor bad

    25

    28

    28

    26

    17

    BAD (NET)

    64

    59

    64

    61

    73

    Somewhat bad

    40

    37

    41

    37

    45

    Very bad

    24

    22

    22

    25

    28

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

     

     

    TABLE 5

    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

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    39

    38

    46

    40

    34

    38

    30

    29

    28

    30

    34

    29

    34

    26

    23

    21

    20

    Stay the same

    35

    35

    32

    36

    37

    34

    42

    39

    40

    40

    41

    45

    42

    41

    41

    45

    46

    Get worse

    26

    27

    22

    24

    29

    28

    28

    32

    32

    30

    25

    26

    25

    33

    37

    34

    34

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

     

    TABLE 6

    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

    Oct.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    CONFIDENT (NET)

    57

    57

    55

    49

    53

    44

    44

    41

    39

    33

    27

    Very confident

    16

    17

    17

    12

    16

    13

    9

    10

    7

    8

    4

    Somewhat confident

    41

    40

    38

    37

    37

    31

    35

    31

    33

    24

    23

    NOT CONFIDENT (NET)

    43

    43

    45

    51

    47

    56

    56

    59

    61

    67

    73

    Not that confident

    23

    21

    24

    25

    23

    25

    25

    26

    27

    31

    36

    Not at all confident

    20

    22

    21

    27

    25

    32

    31

    33

    34

    36

    37

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

     

    TABLE 7

    CONFIDENCE IN THE WHITE HOUSE – BY POLITICAL PARTY AND PHILOSOPHY

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

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Philosophy

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    CONFIDENT (NET)

    27

    7

    52

    19

    11

    29

    47

    Very confident

    4

     

    10

    2

    1

    5

    9

    Somewhat confident

    23

    7

    42

    17

    10

    24

    38

    NOT CONFIDENT (NET)

    73

    93

    48

    81

    89

    71

    53

    Not that confident

    36

    38

    35

    35

    31

    40

    34

    Not at all confident

    37

    55

    13

    46

    58

    31

    19

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

     

    TABLE 8

    BUFFETT TAX OR SURTAX

    Do you support or oppose a surtax on incomes of more than $1 million per year, as has been proposed by the Senate?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Income

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    $34.9K or less

    $35K-$49.9K

    $50K-$74.9K

    $75K-$99.9K

    $100K+

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Support (NET)

    66

    48

    85

    64

    67

    59

    64

    66

    70

    Strongly support

    45

    21

    68

    43

    46

    41

    45

    44

    45

    Somewhat support

    21

    27

    18

    21

    21

    19

    19

    22

    25

    Oppose (NET)

    23

    43

    8

    24

    16

    27

    26

    27

    22

    Somewhat oppose

    8

    17

    3

    8

    7

    12

    8

    11

    7

    Strongly oppose

    14

    27

    4

    17

    10

    15

    17

    16

    15

    Not at all sure

    11

    9

    7

    12

    17

    14

    10

    7

    8

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

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011 among 2,463 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.

    J40806

    Q705, 710, 715, 718, 725

    The Harris Poll® #112, October 25, 2011

    By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher