Congress Starts the Year Where They Ended Last Year – With Job Ratings Almost as Low as You Can Go

NEW YORK , N.Y. – January 28, 2014 – While Members of Congress probably were not expecting a miracle over the holidays and as the new year dawned, they probably were hoping they could start the year a little better than they ended it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. While last month just 5% of Americans gave them positive marks for the job they were doing, this month that number does inch up, but only to 6% giving them positive ratings while 94% give them negative ones.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,236 adults surveyed online between January 15 and 20, 2014 by Harris Interactive.

The leaders of Congress are doing somewhat better, but are still seeing that the jobs they are doing are not viewed in the best manner. Looking at the House of Representatives, just 12% of Americans give the job Speaker of the House John Boehner is doing positive marks while over half (56%) give him negative ratings and one-third (32%) are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion. In July, 13% gave him positive ratings while 51% gave him negative ratings. For Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, she has slightly higher positive ratings at 17% but 55% give her negative marks and 28% are not familiar enough to have an opinion. In July, 18% gave Leader Pelosi positive ratings while 53% gave her negative ones.

On the other side of Capitol Hill, things really aren’t much better. Just over one in ten Americans (12%) give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid positive ratings while 45% give him negative marks and 43% are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion. This is similar to July when 11% gave him positive ratings, 43% gave him negative marks and 46% weren’t familiar enough with him to have an opinion. Looking at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, just 7% give him positive ratings for the overall job he is doing, 38% give him negative marks but over half (54%) are not familiar enough to have an opinion. This is down from July when 11% have him positive ratings and 35% gave him negative marks; again 54% were not familiar enough to have an opinion.

The two parties in Congress also have a lot of problems as the year starts. Democrats in Congress are actually doing better, with 16% of Americans giving the job they are doing positive marks while over half (54%) give them negative ratings and 29% are not familiar enough to have an opinion. Just under one in ten U.S. adults (9%) give Republicans in Congress positive ratings for the job they are doing while 59% give them negative marks and 32% are not familiar enough with them to have an opinion. In July, 18% gave Democrats positive marks and 51% gave them negative ratings while 11% gave Republicans positive ratings and 56% gave them negative ones.

The Individual Congressman

There is Congress as a whole, there are the parties in Congress and there is the individual Member of Congress. And, just like last month, just one in five Americans (20%) give their individual Member of the House of Representatives positive ratings for the job he or she is doing, while 68% give him or her negative marks. This may be why over half of U.S. adults (52%) say it is time to give someone else a chance while just one in five (20%) say their Congressperson deserves to be re-elected and 28% are not at all sure.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

 

TABLE 1

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

6

4

9

5

5

7

8

Excellent

1

 

1

2

1

1

 

Pretty good

6

4

8

3

4

6

7

NEGATIVE

94

96

91

95

95

93

92

Only fair

31

35

32

28

34

30

31

Poor

62

61

60

66

61

63

61

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

 

TABLE 2

FAMILIARITY WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS

Are you familiar enough with each of the following to have an opinion regarding them?

Base: All adults

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Mar

Aug

Dec

Mar

June

Oct

Jan

May

Oct

Jan

July

Jan

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

68

67

71

69

69

72

69

75

72

66

71

72

Democrats in Congress

66

68

67

68

68

67

66

66

67

66

69

71

Republicans in Congress

62

63

64

67

64

64

63

62

66

66

67

68

House Speaker John Boehner

37

27

N/a

N/a

N/a

37

48

54

60

56

64

68

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

32

39

44

N/a

N/a

N/a

N/a

53

53

50

54

57

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

46

46

Note: N/a indicates not asked; In January 2011 Nancy Pelosi became House Minority Leader (from House Speaker) and John Boehner became House Speaker (from House Minority Leader).


TABLE 3

RATINGS OF SENIOR CABINET MEMBERS, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS

How would you rate the overall job each of the following is doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Excellent

Pretty Good

Negative

Only Fair

Poor

Not Familiar

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democrats in Congress

16

2

14

54

21

34

29

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

17

3

14

55

19

37

28

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

12

2

11

45

16

29

43

House Speaker John Boehner

12

2

11

56

24

32

32

Republicans in Congress

9

1

8

59

21

38

32

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

7

1

6

38

17

21

54

Positive = excellent or pretty good Negative = only fair or poor; In January 2011 Nancy Pelosi became House Minority Leader (from House Speaker) and John Boehner became House Speaker (from House Minority Leader).

TABLE 4

RATING OF HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER – TREND

How would you rate the job House Speaker John Boehner is doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Negative

Not Familiar

2014

Jan.

%

12

56

32

2013

July

%

13

51

36

2012

Jan.

%

11

46

44

2011

Oct.

%

17

43

40

May

%

22

32

46

Jan.

%

22

27

52

2010

Oct.

%

12

25

63

2009

Aug.

%

8

19

73

March

%

9

16

75

Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding; Until January 2011 John Boehner was House Minority Leader.

 

TABLE 5

RATING OF SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL – TREND

How would you rate the job Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Negative

Not Familiar

2014

Jan

%

7

38

54

2013

July

%

11

35

54

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


TABLE 6

RATING OF HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI – TREND

How would you rate the job House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Negative

Not Familiar

2014

Jan

%

17

55

28

2013

July

%

18

53

29

2012

Jan

%

13

53

34

2011

Oct.

%

18

54

28

May

%

24

51

25

Jan.

%

22

48

31

2010

Oct.

%

19

52

28

June

%

20

49

31

March

%

16

52

31

Jan.

%

18

50

32

2009

Dec.

%

22

49

29

Sept.

%

20

49

31

Aug.

%

19

48

33

June

%

18

49

34

May

%

21

45

34

April

%

21

44

35

March

%

23

45

32

Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding; until January 2011 Nancy Pelosi was House Speaker.

TABLE 7

RATING OF SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID – TREND

How would you rate the job Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Negative

Not Familiar

2014

Jan

%

12

45

43

2013

July

%

11

43

46

2012

Jan.

%

8

42

50

2011

Oct.

%

10

42

47

May

%

17

36

47

2009

Dec.

%

11

33

56

Aug.

%

10

29

61

March

%

12

26

61

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


TABLE 8

RATING OF DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS – TREND

How would you rate the job the Democrats in Congress are doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Negative

Not Familiar

2014

Jan.

%

16

54

29

2013

July

%

18

51

31

2012

Jan.

%

13

53

34

2011

Oct.

%

12

54

33

May

%

18

48

34

Jan.

%

19

47

34

2010

Oct.

%

16

51

33

June

%

14

54

32

March

%

14

54

32

Jan.

%

17

54

29

2009

Dec.

%

18

50

33

Sept.

%

18

51

31

Aug.

%

21

47

32

June

%

21

43

35

May

%

25

39

36

April

%

22

42

36

March

%

25

41

34

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

 

TABLE 9

RATING OF REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS – TREND

How would you rate the job the Republicans in Congress are doing?

Base: All adults

Positive

Negative

Not Familiar

2014

Jan.

%

9

59

32

2013

July

%

11

56

33

2012

Jan.

%

10

56

34

2011

Oct.

%

13

53

34

May

%

18

44

38

Jan.

%

20

44

37

2010

Oct.

%

14

51

36

June

%

11

52

36

March

%

16

51

33

Jan.

%

16

50

34

2009

Dec.

%

14

50

36

Sept.

%

11

54

35

Aug.

%

12

52

37

June

%

12

46

42

May

%

14

45

41

April

%

14

48

39

March

%

15

47

38

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


TABLE 10

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive

Negative

%

%

2014

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

September

10

90

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 11

INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

How would you rate the overall job your Member of the House of Representatives is doing?

Base: All adults

 

Nov 2013

Dec 2013

Jan 2014

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

19

20

20

24

23

18

21

20

21

Excellent

3

4

4

5

3

4

4

4

3

Pretty good

15

17

17

19

20

14

18

16

18

NEGATIVE

71

69

68

67

66

71

68

69

64

Only fair

31

31

34

36

34

33

37

34

28

Poor

39

38

34

31

32

37

31

35

36

Not familiar enough to rate

11

11

12

9

12

12

11

12

15

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

 

TABLE 12

RE-ELECT MEMBER OF CONGRESS?

Thinking about your Member of the House of Representatives, do you think…?

Base: All adults

 

Nov 2013

Jan 2014

Political Party

Political Ideology

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

It’s time to give someone else a chance

52

52

49

49

58

52

54

44

Your Congressperson deserves to be re-elected

17

20

28

23

14

22

17

24

Not at all sure

31

28

23

29

28

26

29

32

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between January 15 and 20, 2014 among 2,236 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.

J43568

Q1215, 1220, 1225, 1228

The Harris Poll® #11, January 28, 2014

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

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for The Harris Poll® Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client’s research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.