Over Half of Americans Still Not Likely to Vote for President Obama This Fall

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – January 27, 2012 – As the calendar moved into a new year, it also moved into an election year and President Obama is starting this year exactly as he ended the last one in terms of his approval ratings. This month, just like in December, just over one-third of Americans (36%) give the President positive ratings for the overall job he is doing and slightly less than two-thirds (64%) give him negative marks. Looking at the possible swing states for the general election (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia) two-thirds of Americans in these nine states (65%) give the President negative ratings while one-third (35%) give him positive marks. One thing to note is that this survey was conducted prior to the President giving his State of the Union address.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,016 adults surveyed online between January 16 and 23, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

    Not surprisingly, just 6% of Republicans and 12% of Conservatives give President Obama positive ratings. Among Independents almost seven in ten (69%) give him negative ratings as do 58% of Moderates. Among the President’s party, while two-thirds of Democrats (66%) give President Obama positive ratings, one-third (34%) give him negative ratings. Among liberals there is a wider gap as 60% give the President positive marks and 40% give him negative ratings.

    Vice President Joe Biden fares a little worse. Just one in five Americans (22%) give the Vice President positive ratings for the job he is doing while almost half (45%) give him negative ratings. But, one-third (33%) say they are not familiar enough with him to rate his job performance.

    Direction of the Country and Most Important Issue

    One thing that continued to rise over the past few months is the direction Americans think the country is going. This month over one-quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say things are going in the right direction while just under three-quarters (73%) say things are going off on the wrong track. In December, one-quarter of Americans (24%) said things in the country were going in the right direction while three-quarters (76%) said things were going off on the wrong track.

    One thing that probably won’t change for a while is what Americans think is the most important issue for the government to address. More than two in five U.S. adults (42%) say the government should address employment/jobs while three in ten (31%) say one of the two most important issues for the government to address is the economy. One in five (21%) say the government should address healthcare, not Medicare while 12% say they should address the budget and government spending and 10% say taxes.

    President Obama’s re-election chances

    The focus for the past few months has been on the Republicans as they decide which of the four remaining candidates will challenge President Obama this fall. But, looking at the President’s re-election chances, if the election for president were to be held today, over half of Americans (52%) would be unlikely to vote to re-elect President Obama, two in five (41%) would be likely to vote for him and 7% are not at all sure. This is very similar to last month when 51% said they would be unlikely to vote to re-elect the President and 42% said they would be likely to do so. Looking at this by party, nine in ten Republicans (91%) and over half of Independents (52%) would be unlikely to vote for him as would 20% of Democrats. Also, in the likely 2012 swing states, 53% say they would be unlikely to vote for the President while 40% say they would be likely to vote for him.

    When it comes to what Americans think will happen on Election Day, over one-third (36%) think President Obama will be re-elected while 41% think he will not be re-elected; one in five (22%) are not at all sure. Last month, 44% did not think he would be re-elected while just over one-third (35%) thought he would be re-elected.

    So What?

    Jobs and the economy are still the main issues that Americans want to see addressed. In his State of the Union address, the President definitely offered up his plans for help to grow the economy and to get more people back to work. But, two questions that remain are if they will actually work and will people believe in them. If so, this should give President Obama’s re-election the shot it desperately needs right now. If it doesn’t, this will be a long election year.

     


     

    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

    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

    36

    6

    66

    31

    12

    42

    60

    35

    Excellent

    6

    1

    12

    3

    1

    6

    12

    9

    Pretty good

    30

    5

    54

    29

    11

    36

    48

    26

    NEGATIVE

    64

    94

    34

    69

    88

    58

    40

    65

    Only fair

    30

    26

    24

    37

    23

    36

    25

    33

    Poor

    34

    68

    9

    32

    65

    22

    16

    33

    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

    RATING OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN – TREND

    How would you rate the job Vice-President Joe Biden is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2012

    Jan.

    %

    22

    45

    33

    Oct.

    %

    30

    46

    24

    May

    %

    35

    43

    22

    Jan.

    %

    33

    39

    29

    2010

    Oct.

    %

    26

    46

    28

    June

    %

    26

    45

    29

    March

    %

    29

    44

    28

    Jan.

    %

    28

    39

    33

    2009

    Dec.

    %

    30

    42

    28

    Sept.

    %

    30

    41

    30

    Aug.

    %

    33

    38

    29

    June

    %

    30

    38

    32

    May

    %

    32

    36

    31

    April

    %

    34

    32

    33

    March

    %

    35

    35

    30

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


     

    TABLE 4

    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

    January

    27

    73

    2011

    December

    24

    76

     

    November

    20

    80

    October

    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 5

    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.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Likely

    46

    43

    41

    42

    37

    39

    40

    40

    42

    41

    Very likely

    33

    32

    30

    30

    27

    26

    26

    30

    29

    30

    Somewhat likely

    14

    11

    11

    12

    10

    13

    13

    10

    13

    11

    Unlikely

    47

    49

    52

    52

    55

    53

    54

    53

    51

    52

    Somewhat unlikely

    7

    8

    7

    8

    7

    7

    8

    6

    8

    7

    Very unlikely

    40

    41

    45

    44

    48

    47

    46

    47

    43

    45

    Not at all sure

    6

    8

    6

    6

    7

    8

    6

    7

    7

    7

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

     

     

     

    TABLE 6

    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

    41

    6

    74

    41

    14

    48

    66

    40

    Very likely

    30

    3

    58

    27

    10

    33

    55

    30

    Somewhat likely

    11

    3

    15

    14

    4

    15

    11

    10

    Unlikely

    52

    91

    20

    52

    80

    45

    26

    53

    Somewhat unlikely

    7

    7

    5

    9

    5

    9

    5

    7

    Very unlikely

    45

    84

    15

    43

    74

    36

    21

    46

    Not at all sure

    7

    3

    6

    7

    6

    7

    8

    7

    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 7

    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.

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    I think he will be re-elected.

    35

    30

    30

    32

    35

    36

    10

    61

    34

    I do not think he will be re-elected.

    42

    47

    49

    46

    44

    41

    75

    20

    44

    Not at all sure.

    23

    23

    21

    23

    20

    22

    15

    19

    23

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

     

     

    TABLE 8

    MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE

    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

    09

    10

    10

    ’11

    ’11

    ’11

    12

    May

    Jan

    Feb

    Aug

    Dec

    Dec

    June

    Oct

    Aug

    June

    Oct

    Oct

    Mar

    Nov

    Jan

    Nov

    Jan

    May

    Sept

    Jan

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Employment/jobs

    5

    3

    4

    4

    7

    8

    8

    10

    3

    7

    5

    5

    21

    24

    31

    36

    33

    33

    50

    42

    The economy (non-specific)

    8

    9

    7

    5

    32

    34

    25

    28

    19

    14

    13

    64

    50

    34

    32

    33

    24

    29

    27

    31

    Healthcare (not Medicare)

    10

    11

    12

    15

    5

    10

    14

    18

    11

    12

    25

    22

    25

    47

    45

    30

    35

    18

    17

    21

    Budget deficit/National debt

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    3

    X

    X

    8

    12

    17

    13

    12

    Taxes

    14

    16

    12

    13

    6

    5

    11

    8

    5

    4

    3

    6

    4

    4

    4

    7

    6

    4

    7

    10

    Budget/Government spending

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    5

    6

    2

    6

    11

    7

    10

    13

    9

    11

    9

    Education

    15

    14

    21

    25

    12

    11

    13

    7

    8

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    5

    6

    7

    7

    5

    8

    Immigration

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    2

    3

    20

    12

    3

    4

    5

    5

    8

    8

    10

    6

    6

    Downsizing government

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    2

    2

    2

    2

    1

    2

    4

    Environment

    3

    2

    3

    3

    1

    3

    2

    1

    3

    3

    3

    2

    3

    4

    3

    2

    2

    2

    3

    3

    Foreign policy (non-specific)

    3

    5

    4

    3

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    2

    2

    1

    1

    3

    3

    Social security

    6

    6

    24

    16

    3

    2

    4

    4

    10

    5

    3

    3

    1

    2

    1

    4

    3

    3

    7

    3

    Human/civil/women’s rights

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    Wars/Armed conflicts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    6

    3

    2

    Military/defense

    2

    2

    2

    4

    4

    1

    5

    3

    1

    4

    2

    2

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    2

    (Programs for) the poor/ poverty

    3

    2

    2

    3

    1

    2

    3

     

    4

    4

    4

     

    1

    2

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    2

    National security

    X

    X

    2

    2

    6

    3

    6

    5

    2

    2

    2

    5

    2

    1

    4

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    Housing

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

     

     

    1

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    Terrorism

    X

    X

    X

    X

    22

    17

    11

    7

    7

    4

    4

    3

    4

    3

    6

    2

    2

    4

    1

    2

    Gas and oil prices

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    10

    8

    2

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    12

    2

    2

    Abortion

    2

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    1

    4

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

    1

    Bipartisanship

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

    1

    Obama/president

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

     

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    Ethics in government

     

     

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    Homelessness

    4

    4

    3

    3

    2

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    3

     

     

    1

    1

     

    1

     

     

    1

    Business accountability/bailouts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

     

     

    1

    Homeland/domestic security/public safety

    X

    X

    X

    X

    8

    9

    3

    6

    2

    2

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Medicare

    4

    5

    5

    6

    1

    1

    4

    3

    2

    1

    3

    2

     

     

     

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    Welfare

    14

    8

    4

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

    3

    1

    2

     

     

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    Inflation

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    2

    3

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Energy

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    4

    4

    1

    4

    3

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    (The) war

    X

    X

    X

    X

    12

    18

    8

    35

    41

    27

    24

    14

    9

    9

    2

    4

    3

     

    1

     

    Infrastructure

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

    1

    1

     

    Afghanistan

    X

    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

     

     

     

     

    Same sex rights

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

    Iraq

     

     

    1

    X

    X

    11

    3

    9

    6

    8

    14

    7

    2

    4

    2

    1

     

     

     

     

    Judicial/Legal Issues

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

    2

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

     

     

     

    x

     

    Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

     

     

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Crime/violence

    19

    13

    8

    10

    1

    2

    3

    1

    3

    2

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    X

    Income gap/Wealth distribution/Middle class

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    x

    X

    Overspending/wasting money

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

    x

    X

    Other

    8

    19

    2

    19

    3

    8

    8

    8

    1

    6

    5

    15

    5

    3

    1

    6

    5

    3

    6

    7

    Not sure/refused/no issue

    9

    12

    16

    18

    11

    10

    12

    9

    8

    6

    8

    4

    4

    3

    2

    2

    4

    4

    3

    3

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

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


     

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 16 and 23, 2012 among 2,016 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.

    J41215

    Q1205, 1208, 1210, 1218, 1228, 1255

     

     

    The Harris Poll ® #10, January 27, 2012

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