President Obama’s Approval Ratings Inch Upwards

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – February 16, 2012 – The Republicans continue to fight for the primary nomination and the biggest benefactor of their squabbles may be President Obama. This month, 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. This is up from last month when 36% gave the President positive marks and 64% gave him negative ones. This is also the highest the President has been since May of last year.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

    Looking at the possible swing states for the general election (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia) three in five Americans in these nine states (61%) give the President negative ratings while two in five (39%) give him positive marks.

    Not surprisingly, just 8% of Republicans and 15% of Conservatives give President Obama positive ratings. Among Independents just over three in five (63%) give him negative ratings but just over half of Moderates (55%) feel the same. Among the President’s party, three-quarters of Democrats (74%) give President Obama positive ratings and one-quarter (26%) give him negative ratings. Among liberals, seven in ten (70%) give the President positive marks and 30% give him negative ratings.

    Direction of the Country

    Another thing that continues to rise is the direction Americans think the country is going. This month over one-third of U.S. adults (34%) say things are going in the right direction while two-thirds (66%) say things are going off on the wrong track. In January, just over one-quarter of Americans (27%) said things in the country were going in the right direction while 73% said things were going off on the wrong track. This is also the highest percentage of people who think the country is going in the right direction since spring of 2011.

    President Obama’s re-election chances

    As President Obama’s approval ratings inch up, so do his re-election chances. If the election for president were to be held today, it is close with 45% of Americans likely to vote for him, 48% unlikely to vote for him and 7% who are not at all sure. Last month, over half of U.S. adults (52%) said they would be unlikely to vote to re-elect the President and 41% said they would be likely to do so. Looking at this by party, four in five Republicans (82%) and half of Independents (51%) would be unlikely to vote for him, while four in five Democrats (79%) would be likely to do so. In the likely 2012 swing states, 51% say they would be unlikely to vote for the President while 43% say they would be likely to vote for him.

    When it comes to what Americans think will happen on Election Day, the numbers are moving in the President’s direction as well. Last month, in January, over one-third of Americans (36%) thought President Obama would be re-elected while 41% thought he would not be re-elected. This month, 46% of U.S. adults now believe he will be re-elected while 37% say that he will not be.

    So What?

    What a difference a month makes. There seems to be a sense of optimism among Americans and that feeling is translating into positive news for President Obama. Some good economic news and a stellar few weeks for the stock markets can do wonders for an incumbent president’s approval ratings and the White House is probably hoping this news, as well as the Republican primary, continues for the next few months.

    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

    %

    %

    2012

    February

    40

    60

    January

    36

    64

    2011

    December

    36

    64

    November

    34

    66

    October

    33

    67

    September

    32

    68

    August

    32

    68

    July

    38

    62

    June

    38

    62

    May 19th

    45

    55

    May 9th

    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

    2012 Swing

    States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    40

    8

    74

    37

    15

    45

    70

    39

    Excellent

    7

    2

    15

    5

    3

    7

    16

    10

    Pretty good

    33

    6

    58

    33

    12

    38

    55

    29

    NEGATIVE

    60

    92

    26

    63

    85

    55

    30

    61

    Only fair

    27

    29

    20

    29

    22

    31

    21

    25

    Poor

    33

    64

    6

    34

    63

    24

    8

    36

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia


    TABLE 3

    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

    %

    %

    2012

    February

    34

    66

    January

    27

    73

    2011

    December

    24

    76

    November

    20

    80

    August

    16

    84

    July

    25

    75

    May

    39

    61

    January

    37

    63

    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 4

    VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA

    If the election for president were to be held today, how likely would you be to vote for the current president, Barack Obama?

    Base: All adults

    2011

    2012

    May 9

    May 19

    June

    July

    Aug.

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Dec.

    Jan.

    Feb.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Likely

    46

    43

    41

    42

    37

    39

    40

    40

    42

    41

    45

    Very likely

    33

    32

    30

    30

    27

    26

    26

    30

    29

    30

    33

    Somewhat likely

    14

    11

    11

    12

    10

    13

    13

    10

    13

    11

    12

    Unlikely

    47

    49

    52

    52

    55

    53

    54

    53

    51

    52

    48

    Somewhat unlikely

    7

    8

    7

    8

    7

    7

    8

    6

    8

    7

    5

    Very unlikely

    40

    41

    45

    44

    48

    47

    46

    47

    43

    45

    43

    Not at all sure

    6

    8

    6

    6

    7

    8

    6

    7

    7

    7

    7

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

    TABLE 5

    VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA – BY POLITICAL PARTY

    If the election for president were to be held today, how likely would you be to vote for the current president, Barack Obama?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    2012 Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Likely

    45

    12

    79

    42

    16

    50

    76

    43

    Very likely

    33

    7

    65

    26

    10

    35

    63

    34

    Somewhat likely

    12

    6

    14

    15

    6

    15

    12

    10

    Unlikely

    48

    82

    17

    51

    78

    40

    20

    51

    Somewhat unlikely

    5

    4

    4

    7

    4

    7

    4

    5

    Very unlikely

    43

    77

    12

    45

    74

    34

    15

    45

    Not at all sure

    7

    6

    4

    7

    5

    9

    5

    6

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

    TABLE 6

    LIKELIHOOD OF OBAMA’S RE-ELECTION

    If you had to say now, do you think that President Obama will be re-elected, or not?

    Base: All adults

    2011

    2012

    Political Party

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Dec.

    Jan.

    Feb.

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    I think he will be re-elected.

    35

    30

    30

    32

    35

    36

    46

    17

    74

    45

    I do not think he will be re-elected.

    42

    47

    49

    46

    44

    41

    37

    64

    15

    37

    Not at all sure.

    23

    23

    21

    23

    20

    22

    17

    19

    12

    18

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

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 6 and 13, 2012 among 2,056 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.

    J41216

    Q1205, 1210, 1218, 1255

    The Harris Poll ® #17, February 16, 2012

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

    About Harris Interactive

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