Congress Is Probably Asking for Better Job Ratings for the Holidays

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – December 19, 2013 – T’was a week before Christmas and all through D.C., no politicians were stirring, having survived the past year. To their districts they flew, ‘cross the congressional map, while President Obama settled down for a long winter’s nap (before he heads to Hawaii). And, for all the politicians, the year comes to a close with low job ratings and a hope for a better year.

    For the President, this month again just one-third of Americans (34%) give him positive ratings for the job he is doing, while 66% give him negative ratings. This is slightly improved from last month, when 32% gave the President positive marks and 66% gave him negative ones. It’s worse still when it comes to his handling of the economy, as three in ten (29%) give him positive ratings on it while 71% give him negative ratings, similar to last month when 30% gave him positive ratings and 70% gave him negative marks.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,311 adults surveyed online between December 11 and 17, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

    It may not be visions of sugar plums in the President’s head, but rather visions of his legacy. And, while he’s probably not surprised that only 8% of Republicans give him positive ratings and that 63% of Democrats positively rate the overall job he’s doing, the problem is with Independents. Among this group just 24% give President Obama positive ratings, while three-quarters (76%) give him negative marks.

    And arose such a clatter on Capitol Hill

    When President Obama flies to his window in a flash, the sight that awaits his wondering eyes is the dome of Congress – a legislative body very few Americans would give much more than coal. Only 5% of U.S. adults rate the job they are doing positively, while 95% give them negative ratings. This is slightly worse than last month, when 7% of Americans gave Congress positive ratings. And, it’s not just the whole legislative body that is on Santa’s naughty list. Only one in five Americans (20%) give their Member of the House of Representative positive ratings, while 69% give him or her negative ratings.

    On Dasher and Dancer and Health Care?

    When it comes to issues that Americans want addressed, more parking spots at the mall may be high on the list – but when it comes to what the government should address, healthcare (not Medicare), including Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, is one of the most important issues for over two in five (42%) of Americans. This is followed by employment/jobs (27%), the economy (24%), the deficit and national debt (16%), and the budget and government spending (14%).

    Looking at the direction of the country overall, one-third (33%) of Americans believe the country is going in the right direction while 67% believe things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track. This is slightly up from last month, when three in ten (30%) said things were going in the right direction.

    To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

    Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

     

    TABLE 1

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

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

    Base: All adults

     

    TREND

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    2013

    December

    34

    66

     

    November

    32

    68

    October

    35

    65

    September

    34

    66

    July

    39

    61

    June

    41

    59

    March

    38

    62

    2012

    December

    45

    55

    September

    41

    59

    April

    41

    59

    March

    40

    60

    January

    36

    64

    2011

    December

    36

    64

     

    November

    34

    66

    October

    33

    67

    September

    32

    68

    July

    38

    62

    May

    46

    54

    April

    38

    62

    March

    39

    61

    Feb.

    42

    58

    Jan.

    44

    56

    2010

    Dec.

    36

    64

     

    Nov.

    38

    62

    Oct.

    37

    63

    Sept.

    38

    62

    Aug.

    40

    60

    June

    39

    61

    May

    42

    58

    April

    41

    59

    March

    41

    59

    Jan.

    40

    60

    2009

    Dec.

    41

    59

     

    Nov.

    43

    57

    Oct.

    45

    55

    Sept.

    49

    51

    Aug.

    51

    49

    June

    54

    46

    May

    59

    41

    April

    58

    42

    March

    55

    45

    Positive = excellent or pretty good. Negative = only fair or poor.


    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 Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    34

    8

    63

    24

    11

    35

    60

    Excellent

    6

    2

    12

    2

    2

    5

    14

    Pretty good

    28

    7

    51

    22

    9

    31

    46

    NEGATIVE

    66

    92

    37

    76

    89

    65

    40

    Only fair

    27

    19

    29

    31

    18

    34

    24

    Poor

    39

    73

    9

    45

    71

    31

    15

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

     

    TABLE 3

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

    How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    5

    4

    9

    3

    5

    6

    5

    Excellent

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    Pretty good

    4

    3

    7

    2

    3

    5

    4

    NEGATIVE

    95

    96

    91

    97

    95

    94

    95

    Only fair

    30

    34

    36

    21

    31

    30

    29

    Poor

    64

    62

    55

    76

    64

    64

    66

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


    TABLE 4

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

    How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    TREND

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    2013

    December

    5

    95

     

    November

    7

    93

    October

    4

    96

    September

    7

    93

    July

    9

    91

    June

    9

    91

    March

    6

    94

    2012

    December

    8

    92

    September

    10

    90

    April

    11

    89

    March

    9

    91

    January

    6

    94

    2011

    December

    5

    95

     

    November

    5

    95

    September

    6

    94

    July

    8

    92

    June

    11

    89

    May

    13

    87

    March

    10

    90

    January

    16

    84

    2010

    December

    11

    89

     

    November

    13

    87

    October

    11

    89

    June

    14

    86

    April

    16

    84

    March

    10

    90

    Jan.

    16

    84

    2009

    Dec.

    17

    83

     

    Oct.

    16

    84

    June

    25

    75

    March

    29

    71

    2008

    October

    10

    86

     

    August

    18

    77

    June

    13

    83

    February

    20

    76

    2007

    December

    17

    79

     

    October

    20

    77

    April

    27

    69

    February

    33

    62

    2006

    September

    24

    73

     

    May

    18

    80

    February

    25

    71

    January

    25

    72

    Positive = excellent or pretty good. Negative = only fair or poor.


    TABLE 5

    RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – TREND

    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

    %

    %

    2013

    December

    33

    67

    November

    30

    70

    October

    20

    80

    September

    29

    71

    July

    34

    66

    May

    39

    61

    2012

    March

    34

    66

    January

    27

    73

    2011

    August

    16

    84

    May

    39

    61

    2010

    December

    29

    71

    April

    39

    61

    2009

    August

    46

    54

    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

     

    TABLE 6

    INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

    How would you rate the overall job your Member of the House of Representatives is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    Nov

    Dec

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    19

    20

    24

    26

    14

    23

    18

    22

    Excellent

    3

    4

    5

    4

    2

    5

    2

    4

    Pretty good

    15

    17

    19

    21

    11

    18

    16

    18

    NEGATIVE

    71

    69

    68

    59

    78

    67

    71

    64

    Only fair

    31

    31

    34

    29

    32

    31

    32

    27

    Poor

    39

    38

    34

    30

    47

    36

    39

    37

    Not familiar enough to rate

    11

    11

    8

    15

    8

    10

    11

    14

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


    TABLE 7

    MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE – TREND

    What do you think are the two most important issues for the government to address?

    Spontaneous, unprompted replies

    Base: All adults

     

    ’97

    ’98

    ’99

    ’00

    ’01

    ’02

    ’03

    ’04

    ’05

    ’06

    ’07

    ’08

    ’09

    ’10

    ’11

    ’12

    ’13

    ’13

    ’13

    ’13

    May

    Jan

    Feb

    Aug

    Dec

    Dec

    June

    Oct

    Aug

    June

    Oct

    Oct

    Mar

    Jan

    May

    Mar

    Mar

    June

    Sept

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Healthcare (not Medicare) including Obamacare/ACA

    10

    11

    12

    15

    5

    10

    14

    18

    11

    12

    25

    22

    25

    45

    18

    21

    23

    22

    33

    42

    Employment/jobs

    5

    3

    4

    4

    7

    8

    8

    10

    3

    7

    5

    5

    21

    31

    33

    36

    26

    30

    27

    27

    The economy (non-specific)

    8

    9

    7

    5

    32

    34

    25

    28

    19

    14

    13

    64

    50

    32

    29

    30

    27

    32

    26

    24

    Budget deficit/National debt

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    3

    X

    17

    11

    16

    10

    12

    16

    Budget/Government spending

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    5

    6

    2

    6

    7

    9

    7

    20

    7

    10

    14

    Immigration

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    2

    3

    20

    12

    3

    4

    5

    10

    5

    9

    13

    8

    8

    Education

    15

    14

    21

    25

    12

    11

    13

    7

    8

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    7

    7

    6

    7

    6

    8

    Taxes

    14

    16

    12

    13

    6

    5

    11

    8

    5

    4

    3

    6

    4

    4

    4

    7

    9

    7

    5

    6

    Income gap/Wealth distribution/Middle class

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

     

    2

    4

    (Programs for) the poor/ poverty

    3

    2

    2

    3

    1

    2

    3

     

    4

    4

    4

     

    1

    2

    2

    1

    2

    2

    4

    3

    Bipartisanship

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    3

    Social security

    6

    6

    24

    16

    3

    2

    4

    4

    10

    5

    3

    3

    1

    1

    3

    3

    3

    4

    4

    3

    Foreign policy (non-specific)

    3

    5

    4

    3

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    1

    2

    2

    2

    3

    2

    (The) war

    X

    X

    X

    X

    12

    18

    8

    35

    41

    27

    24

    14

    9

    2

     

    X

     

    X

     

    2

    Wars/Armed conflicts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    6

    4

    3

    2

    5

    2

    Homeland/domestic security/public safety

    X

    X

    X

    X

    8

    9

    3

    6

    2

    2

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    X

    1

    2

    2

    Environment

    3

    2

    3

    3

    1

    3

    2

    1

    3

    3

    3

    2

    3

    3

    2

    2

    3

    3

    2

    2

    NSA/Privacy issues

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

     

    1

    Gun laws/control

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    4

    3

    3

    1

    Human/civil/women’s rights

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

     

     

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    1

    Military/defense

    2

    2

    2

    4

    4

    1

    5

    3

    1

    4

    2

    2

    2

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    1

    Terrorism

    X

    X

    X

    X

    22

    17

    11

    7

    7

    4

    4

    3

    4

    6

    4

    1

    1

    3

    1

    1

    Crime/violence

    19

    13

    8

    10

    1

    2

    3

    1

    3

    2

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    Welfare

    14

    8

    4

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

    3

    1

    2

     

     

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Energy

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    4

    4

    1

    4

    3

    1

    2

    3

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Infrastructure

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Same sex rights

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

     

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Obama/president

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Ethics in government

     

     

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    3

    1

    1

    Medicare

    4

    5

    5

    6

    1

    1

    4

    3

    2

    1

    3

    2

     

     

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    National security

    X

    X

    2

    2

    6

    3

    6

    5

    2

    2

    2

    5

    2

    4

    1

    1

    2

    3

    1

     

    Homelessness

    4

    4

    3

    3

    2

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    3

     

     

    1

     

     

     

     

    1

     

    Gas and oil prices

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    10

    8

    2

    1

    1

     

    12

    12

    2

    1

    1

     

    Downsizing government

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

     

    Business accountability/bailouts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

     

    2

    1

    1

     

    Housing

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

     

     

    1

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

     

     

    Inflation

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    2

    3

     

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    1

     

     

    Abortion

    2

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    1

    4

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

     

     

    1

     

     

     

    Afghanistan

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

    1

     

     

     

     

    Religion (decline of)

     

    1

     

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

    1

     

     

     

     

    Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

     

     

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Iraq

     

     

    1

    X

    X

    11

    3

    9

    6

    8

    14

    7

    2

    2

     

     

     

    X

     

     

    Syria crisis

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

    X

    Sequester

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    X

    X

    X

    Other

    8

    19

    2

    19

    3

    8

    8

    8

    1

    6

    5

    15

    5

    1

    3

    8

    8

    8

    8

    8

    Not sure/refused/no issue

    9

    12

    16

    18

    11

    10

    12

    9

    8

    6

    8

    4

    4

    2

    4

    2

    2

    2

    3

    2

    = Less than 0.5%, X = Not mentioned as specific issue

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

     

    TABLE 8

    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

    2010

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    31

    32

    33

    36

    32

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    6

    6

    5

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    25

    27

    27

    30

    27

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    69

    68

    67

    64

    68

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    31

    30

    31

    29

    32

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    39

    37

    36

    34

    37

     

    2010

    2011

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    26

    21

    23

    Excellent

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    3

    2

    3

    Pretty good

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    23

    18

    20

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    74

    79

    77

    Only fair

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    33

    33

    36

    Poor

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    41

    46

    41

     

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    Feb

    Mar

    April

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    22

    25

    25

    32

    32

    36

    33

    39

    35

    33

    29

    30

    30

    29

    Excellent

    3

    4

    2

    3

    5

    4

    6

    6

    5

    5

    4

    5

    6

    4

    Pretty good

    20

    22

    22

    29

    27

    32

    27

    32

    31

    28

    28

    25

    24

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    78

    75

    75

    68

    68

    64

    67

    61

    65

    67

    71

    70

    70

    71

    Only fair

    32

    34

    34

    30

    29

    26

    26

    26

    29

    29

    31

    28

    29

    30

    Poor

    46

    41

    41

    38

    39

    38

    41

    35

    36

    38

    40

    42

    41

    41

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; In February 2012 Not at all sure was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 11 and 17, 2013 among 2,311 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.

    J43568

    Q1205, 1210, 1215, 1217, 705

    The Harris Poll® #99, December 19, 2013

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll® Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client’s research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.