Americans Have More Negative than Positive Feelings Towards Administration and Congressional Leaders in DC

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – July 29, 2013 – Summer time in DC is not always the best, weather-wise. Our nation’s capital sits on a swamp, and as the humidity rises, sometimes so too do the tempers and the inability to get along. This is why Congress tends to disappear and head home for all of August. Unfortunately, as the political leaders leave the environs of their offices, they really should not expect to be welcomed home with open arms, as Americans are not very happy overall with them or their institution. How U.S. adults think about the state of the country continues its downward trend. In May, 39% of Americans thought things in the country were heading in the right direction; in June, that was 37%. This month, 34% of U.S. adults say things are going in the right direction, while 66% say they are heading off on the wrong track.

    First, looking at President Obama, this month 39% of Americans give him positive ratings for the overall job he has been doing, while 61% give the President negative ratings. This is slightly down from last month, when 41% of U.S. adults gave President Obama positive ratings and 59% gave him negative marks.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,242 adults surveyed online between July 17 and 22, 2013, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

    Vice President Joe Biden’s numbers are a little lower. Just one-third of Americans (33%) give him positive ratings, while almost half (47%) give him negative ratings and one in five U.S. adults (20%) say they are not familiar enough with the Vice President to have an opinion of the job he is doing. After the President, the best in terms of how the public perceives him is Secretary of State John Kerry. While over one-quarter (27%) say they are not familiar with him, 34% have a positive opinion of the job he is doing and 39% have a negative opinion.

    The Supreme Court recently wrapped up what was a busy and tumultuous year, but half of Americans (52%) say they are not familiar enough with Chief Justice John Roberts to have an opinion of the overall job he is doing. One in ten U.S. adults (18%) give the Chief Justice positive ratings, while 30% give him negative marks.

    Congress, the Parties and Congressional leaders

    While the situation for the President and some of the administration may be bad, it’s not as bad as it is for Congress and some of its leadership. Staying the same from last month, only one in ten Americans (9%) give Congress positive marks on their overall job performance, while nine in ten (91%) give it negative ratings. It is just slightly better for the leadership of the United States Senate. Around half of Americans say they are not familiar with both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (46%) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (54%). One in ten Americans (11%) give each man positive marks, while 43% give Senator Reid negative ratings and 35% give Senator McConnell negative ratings.

    For leaders of the House, the numbers are a little bit better – but not much. For Speaker John Boehner, 13% of Americans give the job he is doing positive marks, 51% give him negative marks and 36% say they are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion. Almost one in five U.S. adults (18%) give House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi positive ratings, but 53% give her negative marks and three in ten (29%) are not familiar with her. When it comes to the two parties overall, Democrats in Congress have the edge, as 18% give them positive ratings, 51% give them negative marks and 31% are not familiar. For Republicans in Congress, just 11% of Americans give them positive ratings, 56% give them negative marks and 33% are not familiar with them.

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


    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

    %

    %

    2013

    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

    June

    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

    39

    7

    72

    31

    12

    43

    69

    Excellent

    7

    3

    14

    3

    3

    7

    16

    Pretty good

    32

    4

    57

    27

    9

    37

    53

    NEGATIVE

    61

    93

    28

    69

    88

    57

    31

    Only fair

    27

    25

    24

    32

    21

    31

    24

    Poor

    34

    68

    5

    37

    67

    25

    7

    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

    9

    5

    14

    6

    7

    11

    8

    Excellent

    2

    2

    2

    1

    2

    1

    2

    Pretty good

    8

    3

    12

    5

    5

    10

    6

    NEGATIVE

    91

    95

    86

    94

    93

    89

    92

    Only fair

    33

    36

    33

    31

    32

    34

    33

    Poor

    58

    59

    53

    63

    61

    55

    59

    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

    %

    %

    2013

    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

    October

    5

    95

    September

    6

    94

    July

    8

    92

    June

    11

    89

    May

    13

    87

    April

    8

    92

    March

    10

    90

    February

    14

    86

    January

    16

    84

    2010

    December

    11

    89

    November

    13

    87

    October

    11

    89

    August

    15

    85

    June

    14

    86

    April

    16

    84

    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

    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

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Mar

    Aug

    Dec

    Mar

    June

    Oct

    Jan

    May

    Oct

    Jan

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Vice President Joe Biden

    70

    71

    72

    72

    71

    72

    71

    78

    76

    67

    80

    Secretary of State John Kerry

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    73

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    68

    67

    71

    69

    69

    72

    69

    75

    72

    66

    71

    Democrats in Congress

    66

    68

    67

    68

    68

    67

    66

    66

    67

    66

    69

    Republicans in Congress

    62

    63

    64

    67

    64

    64

    63

    62

    66

    66

    67

    House Speaker John Boehner

    37

    27

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    37

    48

    54

    60

    56

    64

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    32

    39

    44

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    53

    53

    50

    54

    Chief Justice John Roberts

    40

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    36

    40

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    48

    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

    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 6

    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

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Vice President Joe Biden

    33

    7

    26

    47

    21

    26

    20

    Secretary of State John Kerry

    34

    4

    30

    39

    24

    15

    27

    Democrats in Congress

    18

    4

    14

    51

    21

    30

    31

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    18

    4

    14

    53

    17

    36

    29

    House Speaker John Boehner

    13

    2

    11

    51

    23

    28

    36

    Republicans in Congress

    11

    2

    9

    56

    23

    33

    33

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    11

    2

    9

    43

    17

    26

    46

    Chief Justice John Roberts

    18

    3

    14

    30

    19

    11

    52

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    11

    2

    8

    35

    17

    18

    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 7

    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

    2013

    July

    %

    33

    47

    20

    2012

    Jan.

    %

    22

    45

    33

    2011

    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 8

    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

    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 9

    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

    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 10

    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

    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 11

    RATING OF SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS – TREND

    How would you rate the job Chief Justice John Roberts is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2013

    July

    %

    18

    30

    52

    2010

    Oct.

    %

    20

    20

    60

    June

    %

    18

    19

    64

    June

    %

    21

    15

    63

    March

    %

    25

    16

    60

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


    TABLE 12

    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

    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 13

    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

    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 14

    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

    %

    %

    2013

    July

    34

    66

    June

    37

    63

    May

    39

    61

    March

    34

    66

    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 July 17 and 22, 2013 among 2,242 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.

    J43276

    Q1205, 1208, 1210, 1215, 1226, 1229

    The Harris Poll‘c2’ae #49, July 29, 2013

    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’c2’ae and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, 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. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, 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.