Congressional Job Ratings Remain Extremely Low

NEW YORK , N.Y. – February 24, 2014 – Congressional retirements continue to be announced as many legislators are looking to spend more time with family, look for greener pastures and, for one, actually run for a lower office. One reason many of these retirements may be happening is that Congress is still mired in just single digit positive job ratings. Fewer than one in ten (8%) Americans give Congress positive marks while 92% give them negative ratings. This is slightly up from last month, when 6% gave them positive marks and 94% of U.S. adults gave them negative ratings. And, with just one-third of Americans (34%) saying things in the country are going in the right direction and 66% saying things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track, these retirees may see that the mood of the voting public is not ripe to just continue the status quo.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,266 adults surveyed online between February 12 and 17, 2014.

These retirements do mean that President Obama will have a number of new Representatives to work with during his last two years in office as he struggles to raise his own job ratings. This month, just over one third of U.S. adults (35%) give the President positive ratings on his overall job performance while 65% give him negative ratings. This is slightly up from last month when 32% of Americans gave the President positive marks and 68% gave him negative ratings. Looking at how partisans feel, it’s definitely not surprising that more than nine in ten Republicans (94%) give the President negative ratings. However, seven in ten Independents (70%) and even more than one-third of Democrats (37%) also give President Obama negative marks on his overall job.

Economic attitudes

When it comes to his performance on the economy, President Obama has ratings that are slightly lower than his overall ratings. Three in ten Americans (31%) give the President positive ratings on the overall job he is doing on the economy while 69% give him negative marks. Like with the overall job ratings, these are also slightly up from last month when 28% gave him positive ratings and 72% of U.S. adults gave him negative marks.

Looking at attitudes on the overall economy, things are little changed from January. In the coming year, one-quarter of Americans (26%) expect the economy to improve, a little over two in five (43%) expect it to stay the same and one-third (32%) say it will get worse. Last month, 26% said the economy was going to improve, 44% believed it would stay the same and 30% believed it would get worse.

For household finances, one in five U.S. adults (22%) expect their household’s financial condition to be better in the next 6 months, one-quarter (26%) expect it to be worse and half (52%) say it will remain the same. Last month, three in ten (29%) believed their household finances would be worse in the next six months, half (49%) thought it would remain the same, and 23% believed it would get better.

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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

%

%

2014

February

35

65

 

January

32

68

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

35

6

63

30

9

38

64

Excellent

5

 

11

4

1

5

11

Pretty good

30

5

52

26

8

33

53

NEGATIVE

65

94

37

70

91

62

36

Only fair

29

25

29

33

19

37

25

Poor

35

70

8

37

73

25

10

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

8

5

11

6

5

9

9

Excellent

2

 

3

1

1

2

3

Pretty good

6

5

8

5

4

7

6

NEGATIVE

92

95

89

94

95

91

91

Only fair

33

40

32

28

31

35

29

Poor

59

55

57

65

64

56

63

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

%

%

2014

February

8

92

January

6

94

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

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

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

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

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

2010

2011

2012

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

27

31

30

33

33

33

32

27

26

21

23

22

25

25

32

32

Excellent

5

5

5

7

9

5

7

5

3

2

3

3

4

2

3

5

Pretty good

22

26

25

26

24

28

26

22

23

18

20

20

22

22

29

27

NEGATIVE (NET)

73

69

70

67

62

67

68

73

74

79

77

78

75

75

68

68

Only fair

33

30

34

30

22

29

28

30

33

33

36

32

34

34

30

29

Poor

39

39

36

37

39

38

40

43

41

46

41

46

41

41

38

39

2013

2014

Feb

Mar

April

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

36

33

39

35

33

29

30

30

29

28

31

Excellent

4

6

6

5

5

4

5

6

4

5

4

Pretty good

32

27

32

31

28

28

25

24

25

23

27

NEGATIVE (NET)

64

67

61

65

67

71

70

70

71

72

69

Only fair

26

26

26

29

29

31

28

29

30

30

29

Poor

38

41

35

36

38

40

42

41

41

42

40

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.

 

TABLE 6

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

In the coming year, do you expect the economy toâ€_?

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

2013

Feb

June

July

Sept.

Oct.

Dec.

Feb.

Dec.

Feb.

March

April

May

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

34

26

23

21

20

23

36

33

32

30

29

32

Stay the same

42

41

41

45

46

47

40

31

40

37

41

42

Get worse

25

33

37

34

34

29

24

36

28

33

29

25

2013

2014

June

July

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec

Jan

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

32

29

27

22

22

25

27

26

26

Stay the same

41

44

42

46

37

44

42

44

43

Get worse

27

27

31

32

41

32

32

30

32

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

 

TABLE 7

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?

Base: All adults

2013

2014

Feb.

March

April

May

June

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Jan

Feb

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

26

24

24

19

18

20

23

22

Much better

3

3

4

5

4

5

4

3

4

4

4

Somewhat better

20

17

18

20

20

19

15

15

16

18

19

Will remain the same

50

49

49

50

53

49

52

48

50

49

52

WORSE (NET)

27

30

28

24

23

26

29

34

30

29

26

Somewhat worse

20

21

20

18

17

18

21

24

19

19

18

Much worse

7

9

8

6

6

9

8

11

11

10

8

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

 

TABLE 8

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

%

%

2014

February

34

66

January

31

69

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,266 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #18, February 24 2014

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

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

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