Generic Congressional Ballot Tied

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – January 31, 2012 – While almost all the election related media attention has been on the Republicans battling for the chance to challenge President Obama in November, every seat in the House of Representatives is also up for election this November. And, if the election for Congress were being held today, among registered voters, it would be a tie with 38% voting for the Republican candidate and 38% voting for the Democratic candidate. Just under one in ten (8%) would vote for another party’s candidate and 16% are not sure who they would vote for.

    Almost nine in ten Republicans (88%) would vote for their candidate and four in five Democrats (81%) would vote for their candidate while Independents are a bit more divided as 28% would vote for the Democratic candidate, 26% for the Republican, 15% for another party’s candidate and three in ten (30%) are not sure.

    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.

    One issue that Members of Congress have is that the institution itself as well as the two major parties in Congress and the leaders are all looking at very low job approval ratings. Specifically:

    • When it comes to Congress itself, just 6% of Americans would rate the overall job they are doing positively while 94% would rate their job negatively. Last month 5% gave them positive ratings while 95% gave them negative ones;
    • Over two in five Americans (46%) give Speaker of the House John Boehner negative ratings, 11% give him positive marks and more than two in five (44%) are not familiar enough to have an opinion;
    • Looking at the two Democratic Congressional leaders, over half of Americans (53%) give House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi negative ratings, while 13% give her positive marks and 34% are not familiar with her. Two in five U.S. adults (42%) give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid negative ratings, 8% give him positive ratings and half (50%) are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion; and
    • Looking at the two political parties, over half of Americans have negative opinions of the job both Republicans in Congress (56%) and Democrats in Congress (53%) are doing. Just one in ten have a positive opinion of the job Republicans in Congress are doing (10%) and 13% have positive opinions of the job Democrats in Congress are doing. One-third of U.S. adults are not familiar enough with the job either party is doing (34% for both) to have an opinion regarding them.

    So What?

    With approval ratings at historic lows, Members of Congress have reason to be nervous about their chances for re-election. This may be why, so far, around 30 have decided to retire rather than run again. There also isn’t any one to rally around-President Obama’s ratings are also low and, with the bruising primary so far, it’s possible that whoever emerges as the Republican candidate will be damaged, so coattails from the presidential race may be short. Representatives have to hope that the old adage of hate the Institution, but like my Member holds true for November or it could be another watershed year with incumbents not able to win re-election.

     

    TABLE 1

    GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT

    If the election for Congress were being held today, for whom would you most likely vote?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Reg

    voters

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Democratic candidate

    37

    38

    3

    81

    28

    Republican candidate

    35

    38

    88

    4

    26

    Other

    8

    8

    2

    3

    15

    Not sure

    20

    16

    7

    11

    30

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

     

    TABLE 2

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

    How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    6

    5

    7

    5

    Excellent

     

     

     

     

    Pretty good

    5

    5

    6

    5

    NEGATIVE

    94

    95

    93

    95

    Only fair

    34

    41

    34

    27

    Poor

    60

    54

    60

    67

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

     


     

    TABLE 3

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

    How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    TREND

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    2012

    January

    6

    94

    2011

    December

    5

    95

     

    November

    5

    95

    October

    5

    95

    September

    6

    94

    August

    5

    95

    July

    8

    92

    June

    11

    89

    May 19th

    12

    88

    May 9th

    13

    87

    April

    8

    92

    March

    10

    90

    February

    14

    86

    January

    16

    84

    2010

    December

    11

    89

     

    November

    13

    87

    October

    11

    89

    September

    13

    87

    August

    15

    85

    June

    14

    86

    May

    15

    85

    April

    16

    84

    March

    10

    90

    Jan.

    16

    84

    2009

    Dec.

    17

    83

     

    Oct.

    16

    84

    Sept.

    19

    81

    Aug.

    22

    78

    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 4

    FAMILIARITY WITH SENIOR CABINET MEMBERS, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS

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

    Base: All adults

    FAMILIAR

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    Mar

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Dec

    Jan

    Mar

    June

    Oct

    Jan

    May

    Oct

    Jan

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    68

    65

    66

    66

    67

    69

    71

    68

    69

    69

    72

    69

    75

    72

    66

    Democrats in Congress

    66

    64

    64

    65

    68

    69

    67

    71

    68

    68

    67

    66

    66

    67

    66

    Republicans in Congress

    62

    61

    59

    58

    63

    65

    64

    66

    67

    64

    64

    63

    62

    66

    66

    House Speaker John Boehner

    37

    N/a

    37

    N/a

    27

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    37

    48

    54

    60

    56

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    32

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    39

    N/a

    44

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    53

    53

    50

    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 5

    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

    13

    2

    11

    53

    21

    32

    34

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    13

    2

    11

    53

    17

    36

    34

    House Speaker John Boehner

    11

    1

    10

    46

    20

    25

    44

    Republicans in Congress

    10

    1

    9

    56

    20

    36

    34

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    8

    1

    7

    42

    15

    27

    50

    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 6

    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

    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 7

    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

    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 8

    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

    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 9

    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

    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 10

    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

    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.

     


     

     

    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

    Q1215, 1225, 1228, 1260

     

     

    The Harris Poll ® #12, January 31, 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.