Half of Americans Dislike President Obama’s Track Record as President and Believe Positions He Has Taken as President Have Hurt the Country

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – January 10, 2012 – The White House and re-election team await their Republican challenger which will dictate the exact nature of the campaign that President Obama runs for the general election. After three years in office, what do Americans think of the President? Well, three in five (62%) say they like him as a person, half (49%) like his political opinions, but only 43% like Barack Obama’s track record as president while half (50%) dislike it.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,237 adults surveyed online between December 5 and 12, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    As might be expected, Republicans and Conservatives are more inclined to dislike most aspects pertaining to the President while Democrats and Independents are more inclined to like them. Among Independents, almost two-thirds (65%) say they like Barack Obama as a person, half (50%) like his political opinions, and 42% like his track record as president. If we look at the potential swing states for the upcoming general election, 62% of people in those states like the President as a person, 48% like his political opinions and just two in five (40%) like Barack Obama’s track record as president.

    Looking at some other attributes of the President, three-quarters of Americans (73%) including over half of Republicans (56%) think the President is a very intelligent person. Half of U.S. adults believe he inspires confidence personally (51%) and that his diverse background is an asset (49%). Over half (56%), however, believe by focusing on healthcare reform, he let the economy continue to struggle and half (49%) also believe positions he has taken as President have hurt the country. Half of Americans (49%) disagree that he has done little as President while 44% agree with that statement.

    When asked about Barack Obama’s political stance, two in five Americans (42%) believe he is neither too liberal nor too conservative, 31% believe he is too liberal and 4% say he is too conservative. Looking at the 2012 swing states, over one-third of people in those states (35%) believe Barack Obama is too liberal.

    If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, which appears to be a given, two in five Americans (42%) would vote for him, 44% would not and 10% are not sure. Among Independents, 46% say they would not vote for Barack Obama while 39% would but among Moderates, almost half (47%) would vote for him while 38% say they would not. Among the possible 2012 swing states, almost half (47%) say they will not vote for the President while 40% say they would.

    So What?

    The general election race will come into focus in the next few weeks as the Republican primary draws to a close. At that time, President Obama’s re-election campaign will know which Republican they are running against, but they will also be running against the President’s first term. Americans, especially those in the swing states, have been hurt by the economy and while it may be rebounding that needs to be perceived by voters. If it’s not, then the President has quite the uphill battle.

     

     

    TABLE 1

    PERCEPTION OF BARACK OBAMA

    Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Like (NET)

    Strongly like

    Somewhat like

    Total
    , Dislike (NET)

    Somewhat dislike

    Strongly dislike

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama as a person

    62

    37

    25

    27

    12

    16

    11

    Barack Obama’s political opinions

    49

    25

    24

    43

    12

    31

    8

    Barack Obama’s track record as president

    43

    15

    29

    50

    16

    34

    7

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

     

    TABLE 1A

    PERCEPTION OF BARACK OBAMA – SUMMARY OF LIKE

    Thinking about presidential politics, looking at the list of attributes, please indicate how you feel about each.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat like

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Barack Obama as a person

    62

    28

    89

    65

    33

    69

    87

    62

    61

    Barack Obama’s political opinions

    49

    10

    82

    50

    17

    56

    78

    48

    48

    Barack Obama’s track record as president

    43

    8

    75

    42

    15

    49

    71

    40

    39

    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; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

     


     

    TABLE 2

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS BARACK OBAMA

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Barack Obama.

    Base: All adults

     

    Total Agree (NET)

    Strongly agree

    Somewhat agree

    Total Disagree (NET)

    Somewhat disagree

    Strongly disagree

    Not sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    73

    43

    29

    18

    10

    9

    9

    By focusing on healthcare reform, he let the economy continue to struggle

    56

    31

    24

    34

    18

    17

    10

    He inspires confidence personally

    51

    23

    28

    40

    13

    26

    9

    Positions he has taken as President have hurt the country

    49

    30

    18

    43

    20

    23

    9

    His diverse background is an asset

    49

    22

    26

    36

    14

    22

    15

    He has done little as President

    44

    25

    19

    49

    23

    27

    7

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

     

     

     

     

    TABLE 2A

    ATTITUDES TOWARDS BARACK OBAMA – SUMMARY OF AGREE

    Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements about Barack Obama.

    Those saying Strongly/Somewhat agree

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    He is a very intelligent person

    73

    56

    91

    73

    56

    76

    87

    77

    75

    By focusing on healthcare reform, he let the economy continue to struggle

    56

    84

    31

    58

    81

    52

    27

    59

    59

    He inspires confidence personally

    51

    24

    79

    49

    26

    56

    76

    49

    52

    Positions he has taken as President have hurt the country

    49

    82

    21

    50

    78

    43

    21

    51

    52

    His diverse background is an asset

    49

    22

    75

    46

    23

    53

    75

    49

    52

    He has done little as President

    44

    73

    17

    49

    70

    39

    17

    47

    48

    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; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio


     

    TABLE 3

    BARACK OBAMA’S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

    Do you think Barack Obama…?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Is too liberal

    31

    70

    4

    32

    71

    20

    2

    35

    36

    Is neither too liberal nor too conservative

    42

    13

    70

    43

    9

    51

    68

    41

    38

    Is too conservative

    4

     

    6

    4

    1

    3

    14

    4

    4

    Not sure

    22

    16

    20

    22

    19

    26

    16

    20

    22

    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; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio; indicates less than 1%

     

     

    TABLE 4

    VOTING FOR BARACK OBAMA

    If Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee for President, which is closest to the way you think?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Party ID

    Party Philosophy

    Swing States

    Rep

    Dem

    Ind

    Cons

    Mod.

    Lib.

    2012

    2008

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Would vote for him (NET)

    42

    6

    80

    39

    13

    47

    75

    40

    40

    I definitely would vote for him

    27

    2

    57

    22

    6

    29

    55

    28

    24

    I probably would vote for him

    16

    4

    23

    17

    8

    18

    20

    12

    15

    Would not vote for him (NET)

    44

    87

    11

    46

    79

    38

    9

    47

    47

    I probably would not vote for him

    8

    8

    3

    13

    7

    10

    3

    7

    8

    I definitely would not vote for him

    37

    80

    7

    33

    73

    28

    6

    39

    39

    I wouldn’t vote at all

    3

    2

    2

    3

    1

    3

    4

    3

    3

    Not sure

    10

    5

    8

    12

    6

    12

    12

    10

    10

    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; 5% states in 2008 are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina and Ohio

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 5 and 12, 2011 among 2,237 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.

    J40990

    Q939, 941, 942, 943

     

     

    The Harris Poll ® #3, January 10, 2012

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

    About Harris Interactive

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