President Obama’s Job Approval Holds Steady Over the Summer

NEW YORK, N.Y. – August 23, 2010 – As President Obama ends his summer, his approval ratings end the summer almost unchanged from when it began. Two in five Americans (40%) give the president positive ratings for the overall job he is doing while three in five (60%) give him negative ratings. In June, 39% of U.S. adults gave the president positive ratings and 61% gave him negative marks.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,775 adults surveyed online between August 9 and 16, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

 

Looking at President Obama’s job approval by demographics

While it’s probably not surprising that nine in ten Republicans (91%) and Conservatives (88%) give the president negative ratings, the fact that three in ten Democrats (29%) and one-quarter of Liberals (25%) also give him negative marks. Coupling this with over three in five Independents (63%) and just under three in five Moderates (57%) who also give President Obama negative ratings for the job he is doing shows how widespread the dissatisfaction is with the way things are right now.

President Obama’s two best demographic groups appear when looking at education and region. Regionally, those in the East are divided on the president’s job – although half of Easterners (50%) give him positive ratings, half (50%) also give him negative ones. Southerners are on the other side, as just one-third (32%) give the president positive ratings while 68% of Southerners give him negative marks.

Looking at education, those with a post-graduate education are the most likely to think the president is doing a good job, as three in five (60%) give President Obama positive marks on the job he is going. Those with a high school education or less are more likely to think he is doing a poor job as almost seven in ten (68%) give him negative ratings.

 

Direction of the country

Another area where Americans have been holding steady all summer is in the direction of the country. Just over one-third of U.S. adults (35%) say the country is going in the right direction while just under two-thirds (65%) say things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track. In June, 34% of Americans believed the country was going in the right direction and 66% said things had gotten off on the wrong track.

 

So What?

In less than 75 days, the midterm elections will be over and the 2012 Presidential campaign season will be in full swing. Every first term president starts office already thinking of his re-election and, unfortunately for the Obama White House, the signs right now must be troubling. But, as summer vacations come to an end, the president and his staff know they have two years to convince the American electorate that they deserve another four years in office.

 

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?

Base: All adults

 

2009

2010

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

55

58

59

54

51

49

45

43

41

40

41

41

42

39

40

Excellent

17

18

17

14

11

11

10

9

7

9

9

9

10

6

9

Pretty good

38

40

42

39

39

38

35

33

33

31

32

31

32

33

31

NEGATIVE

45

42

41

46

49

51

55

57

59

60

59

59

58

61

60

Only fair

27

26

25

25

25

25

27

29

30

30

28

26

28

29

26

Poor

18

15

16

21

24

26

28

29

30

30

31

33

30

32

34

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

 

TABLE 2

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – BY PARTY & IDEOLOGY

How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political party

Political Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

40

9

71

37

12

43

75

Excellent

9

 

19

6

1

8

23

Pretty good

31

9

52

31

11

35

52

NEGATIVE

60

91

29

63

88

57

25

Only fair

26

25

22

31

21

33

19

Poor

34

66

7

32

67

24

6

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than .5%

 

TABLE 3

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – BY REGION, EDUCATION & GENDER

How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Region

Education

Gender

East

Midwest

South

West

H.S. or less

Some college

College grad

Post grad

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

40

50

37

32

45

32

43

43

60

41

39

Excellent

9

11

6

8

10

8

9

7

15

11

7

Pretty good

31

39

32

24

35

24

35

36

44

30

32

NEGATIVE

60

50

63

68

55

68

57

57

40

59

61

Only fair

26

28

24

28

24

30

24

26

19

23

29

Poor

34

22

38

40

31

38

33

31

21

36

32

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

 

TABLE 4

RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK

Generally speaking, would you say things in the country are going in the right direction or have they pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Right Direction

Wrong Track

%

%

2010

August

35

65

 

June

34

66

May

36

64

April

39

61

March

33

67

January

37

63

2009

December

37

63

 

August

46

54

March

32

68

January

19

72

2008

October

11

83

 

February

23

69

2007

December

18

74

 

February

29

62

2006

May

24

69

 

February

32

59

2005

November

27

68

 

January

46

48

2004

September

38

57

 

June

35

59

2003

December

35

57

 

June

44

51

2002

December

36

57

 

June

46

48

2001

December

65

32

 

June

43

52

2000

October

50

41

 

June

40

51

1999

June

37

55

 

March

47

45

1998

December

43

51

 

June

48

44

1997

December

39

56

April

36

55

1996

December

38

50

June

29

64

1995

December

26

62

June

24

65

1994

December

29

63

June

28

65

1993

June

21

70

 

March

39

50

1992

June

12

81

 

January

20

75

1991

December

17

75

 

January

58

32

Note: Prior to March, 2009 this question was asked via telephone

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 9 to 16, 2010 among 2,775 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.

J38557

Q1205, 1210

The Harris Poll® #99, August 23, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

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