Attitudes on Economic Issues All Show Positive Trend

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – February 21, 2012 – The economy and jobs continue to be two of the more important issues driving the national political debate. But the general feeling about how things are going seems to be getting better according to a number of different indicators. First, looking at President Obama’s handling of the economy, one-third of Americans (32%) give the President positive ratings while 68% give him negative ratings. This is up from just one-quarter of U.S. adults (25%) who gave him positive ratings in January and is the first time President Obama has had positive marks in the thirties since May of 2011.

    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.

    The second positive indicator on the economy is on expectations. Over one-third of Americans (36%) say they expect the economy to improve in the coming year while two in five (40%) say it will remain the same and one-quarter believe it will get worse (24%). Again, this is up from December when one-quarter of U.S. adults (23%) believed the economy would improve, almost half (47%) felt it would stay the same and three in ten (29%) thought it would get worse.

    Perceptions of the job market are also improving, albeit a little more slowly. Three in five Americans (59%) rate the current job market of their region of the country as bad, 16% say it is good and one-quarter (25%) say it is neither good nor bad. In January, almost two-thirds of U.S. adults (65%) felt the job market in their region was bad and 14% felt it was good. This is the first time since July of 2008 that the percentage of those who think the job market in their region is bad is below 60%.

    Looking ahead, there is also a sense of optimism on where the job market is heading. One-third of Americans (32%) believe the job market in their region of the nation will get better in the next six months, half (51%) say it will stay the same and 17% believe it will get worse. Last month, just one-quarter (27%) felt the job market would get better, over half (53%) felt it would remain the same and one in five (21%) felt it would get worse.

    Finally, feelings about whether the country is still in a recession or not are also improving. In September, seven in ten Americans (69%) felt the country was still in a recession, while one in ten each felt that the U.S. came out of a recession but will now enter a new recession (11%) and the country has come out of the recession and the economy is growing (10%). A few months later and, while over half of Americans (56%) still think the country is in a recession, one-quarter (24%) believe the country has come out of the recession and the economy is growing and just 8% believe the U.S. has come out of a recession but will enter a new one.

    So What?

    People vote based on how things are for them economically, so if they do not have money or are struggling to keep their jobs, then it’s probably time for a change in political leaders. But, if things are going well, people feel more secure in their jobs and have a little extra money to either save or spend, they are not as likely to want to make a change. If these positive feelings hold, that bodes well for President Obama.


     

    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

    2010

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    31

    32

    33

    36

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    6

    6

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    25

    27

    27

    30

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    69

    68

    67

    64

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    31

    30

    31

    29

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    39

    37

    36

    34

    2010

    2011

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    26

    Excellent

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    3

    Pretty good

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    23

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    74

    Only fair

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    33

    Poor

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    41

    2011

    2012

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Dec.

    Jan.

    Feb.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    21

    23

    22

    25

    25

    32

    Excellent

    2

    3

    3

    4

    2

    3

    Pretty good

    18

    20

    20

    22

    22

    29

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    79

    77

    78

    75

    75

    68

    Only fair

    33

    36

    32

    34

    34

    30

    Poor

    46

    41

    46

    41

    41

    38

    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)

    32

    8

    59

    28

    13

    34

    57

    Excellent

    3

    2

    6

    1

    3

    3

    5

    Pretty good

    29

    6

    54

    27

    10

    31

    52

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    68

    92

    41

    72

    87

    66

    43

    Only fair

    30

    22

    32

    32

    18

    37

    30

    Poor

    38

    70

    8

    40

    69

    29

    12

    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

    April

    May

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    39

    38

    46

    40

    34

    38

    30

    29

    28

    30

    34

    29

    Stay the same

    35

    35

    32

    36

    37

    34

    42

    39

    40

    40

    41

    45

    Get worse

    26

    27

    22

    24

    29

    28

    28

    32

    32

    30

    25

    26

    2011

    2012

    Feb

    June

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Dec.

    Feb.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    34

    26

    23

    21

    20

    23

    36

    Stay the same

    42

    41

    41

    45

    46

    47

    40

    Get worse

    25

    33

    37

    34

    34

    29

    24

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

     

     

    TABLE 4

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR

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

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    36

    17

    61

    32

    Stay the same

    40

    46

    29

    41

    Get worse

    24

    34

    9

    26

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

     

    TABLE 5

    RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET – TREND

    How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

    Base: All adults

    2008

    2009

    June

    July

    Jan

    April

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    28

    30

    6

    12

    9

    8

    10

    10

    8

    9

    Neither good nor bad

    18

    19

    18

    20

    19

    21

    22

    20

    18

    19

    BAD (NET)

    53

    51

    76

    68

    72

    71

    68

    70

    73

    72

    2010

    Jan

    Mar.

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    10

    8

    10

    12

    10

    12

    10

    13

    11

    13

    Neither good nor bad

    20

    18

    21

    20

    25

    22

    21

    21

    23

    24

    BAD (NET)

    70

    73

    70

    68

    66

    66

    69

    66

    66

    63

    2011

    2012

    Jan

    Feb

    March

    May

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Jan

    Feb

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    13

    15

    13

    16

    12

    11

    9

    14

    16

    Neither good nor bad

    22

    24

    22

    23

    24

    22

    24

    21

    25

    BAD (NET)

    65

    61

    65

    61

    64

    67

    67

    65

    59

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

     

     

     

    TABLE 6

    RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

    How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Region

    East

    Midwest

    South

    West

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    16

    15

    15

    19

    12

    Very good

    2

    3

    1

    2

    1

    Somewhat good

    14

    12

    14

    16

    11

    Neither good nor bad

    25

    29

    24

    26

    22

    BAD (NET)

    59

    56

    61

    55

    66

    Somewhat bad

    36

    34

    36

    33

    42

    Very bad

    23

    22

    23

    22

    24

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

     

     


     

    TABLE 7

    EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN SIX MONTHS – TREND

    How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    Jan

    April

    June

    Aug

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    15

    23

    21

    28

    26

    23

    21

    23

    30

    25

    Will be much better

    1

    3

    2

    2

    1

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    Will be somewhat better

    14

    20

    19

    26

    25

    21

    19

    20

    28

    23

    Will remain the same

    36

    42

    47

    47

    53

    49

    53

    53

    50

    54

    WORSE (NET)

    49

    36

    32

    25

    21

    27

    26

    24

    21

    22

    Will be somewhat worse

    36

    29

    24

    19

    15

    22

    20

    18

    15

    16

    Will be much worse

    14

    7

    8

    6

    6

    5

    6

    6

    6

    6

    2011

    2012

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    July

    Jan

    Feb

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    31

    31

    32

    30

    22

    27

    32

    Will be much better

    4

    4

    2

    4

    2

    2

    2

    Will be somewhat better

    26

    27

    30

    26

    20

    25

    29

    Will remain the same

    51

    51

    52

    49

    53

    53

    51

    WORSE (NET)

    18

    18

    16

    21

    25

    21

    17

    Will be somewhat worse

    13

    13

    11

    14

    17

    14

    12

    Will be much worse

    6

    5

    6

    7

    8

    7

    5

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

     

     

     

    TABLE 8

    EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN SIX MONTHS – BY POLITICAL PARTY

    How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    32

    18

    52

    27

    Will be much better

    2

    2

    3

    2

    Will be somewhat better

    29

    15

    49

    25

    Will remain the same

    51

    60

    39

    55

    WORSE (NET)

    17

    23

    9

    18

    Will be somewhat worse

    12

    15

    5

    13

    Will be much worse

    5

    7

    3

    5

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

     

     

     

     

    TABLE 9

    ARE WE IN A RECESSION?

    Thinking of the U.S. economy, which statement below is closest to your view?

    Base: All adults

    Sept.

    2011

    Feb

    2012

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    The U.S. is still in a recession

    69

    56

    57

    61

    58

    The U.S. has come out of a recession and the economy is growing

    10

    24

    25

    21

    24

    The U.S. came out of a recession but will now enter a new recession

    11

    8

    7

    7

    8

    Not at all sure

    11

    12

    11

    12

    10

    Note: Percentages may not add 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

    Q705, 715, 720, 725, 730

     

     

    The Harris Poll® #20, February 21, 2012

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

    About Harris Interactive

    Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.