President Obama’s Ratings Stay the Same, While Congress’s Ratings Inch Up and Perceived Direction of the Country Inches Down

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – June 23, 2014 – The summer is upon us, and with it the air in Washington, D.C. becomes heavy and oppressive. And, this is just the perfect climate for another month of low approval ratings for government officials. After making some gains last month, President Obama holds steady with the same numbers this month with almost two in five (38%) giving the overall job he is doing positive ratings and 62% giving him negative ratings, unchanged from May.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll¨ of 2,241 adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014.

    Among Republicans, one in ten (9%) give the President positive ratings and nine in ten (91%) give him negative marks while among Democrats, two-thirds (68%) give President Obama positive ratings and one-third (32%) give him negative ratings. Looking at Independents, three in ten (30%) give the overall job the President is doing positive ratings while seven in ten (70%) give him negative marks.

    Feelings on the direction the country is going in have gone down a little this month. Last month, just over one-third (35%) said things in the country were going in the right direction while just under two-thirds (65%) said things had gotten off on the wrong track. This month, one-third of Americans (33%) say things are going in the right direction in the country while two-thirds (67%) say things have gotten off on the wrong track. One reason may be that the economy is still weighing on Americans’ minds. Over one-quarter (27%) say the economy is one of the two most important issues for the government to address, while just under one-quarter (23%) say an issue to address is employment and jobs. Rounding out the top five issues for the government to address are healthcare (22%), immigration (17%) and the budget deficit and national debt (11%).

    Congress

    Looking to the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, one in ten Americans (10%) give the overall job that Congress is doing positive ratings while nine in ten (90%) give them negative ratings. This is actually up from last month, when over nine in ten (93%) gave them negative ratings while 7% gave them negative marks. When it comes to their individual Member of Congress, just over one in five Americans (22%) give him or her positive ratings while nearly two-thirds (65%) give negative marks and over one in ten (13%) are not familiar enough with their Congressperson to rate them. This is a little better than March, when 21% gave their Member positive ratings and 68% gave their Representative negative marks.

    Where this comes into play is when we look ahead to November and the midterm elections. Half of Americans (49%) say, when thinking about their Member of the House of Representatives, it is time to give someone else a chance while one in five (20%) believe their Congressperson deserves to be re-elected and three in ten (31%) are not at all sure. In March, half (51%) believed it was time to give someone else a chance, one in five (20%) said their Congressperson deserved to be re-elected and three in ten (29%) were 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

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

    How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    TREND

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    2014

    June

    38

    62

     

    May

    38

    62

    April

    33

    67

    March

    35

    65

    February

    35

    65

    January

    32

    68

    2013

    December

    34

    66

     

    November

    32

    68

    October

    35

    65

    September

    34

    66

    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

    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

    38

    9

    68

    30

    12

    39

    67

    Excellent

    9

    4

    16

    6

    4

    7

    18

    Pretty good

    29

    6

    52

    25

    8

    32

    49

    NEGATIVE

    62

    91

    32

    70

    88

    61

    33

    Only fair

    26

    19

    24

    29

    19

    31

    22

    Poor

    37

    72

    8

    40

    69

    30

    11

    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

    10

    11

    13

    5

    8

    11

    10

    Excellent

    2

    3

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    Pretty good

    8

    8

    12

    4

    7

    9

    8

    NEGATIVE

    90

    89

    87

    95

    92

    89

    90

    Only fair

    31

    33

    32

    27

    33

    31

    28

    Poor

    59

    56

    54

    67

    58

    59

    61

    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

    %

    %

    2014

    June

    10

    90

     

    May

    7

    93

    April

    7

    93

    March

    8

    92

    February

    8

    92

    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

    April

    11

    89

    March

    9

    91

    January

    6

    94

    2011

    December

    5

    95

     

    September

    6

    94

    July

    8

    92

    June

    11

    89

    May

    13

    87

    January

    16

    84

    2010

    December

    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 5

    RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – TREND

    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

    %

    %

    2014

    June

    33

    67

     

    May

    35

    65

    April

    34

    66

    March

    34

    66

    February

    34

    66

    January

    31

    69

    2013

    December

    33

    67

     

    November

    30

    70

    October

    20

    80

    September

    29

    71

    July

    34

    66

    May

    39

    61

    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

     

    TABLE 6

    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

    March 2014

    June 2014

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    19

    20

    20

    21

    22

    26

    27

    15

    23

    20

    27

    Excellent

    3

    4

    4

    4

    4

    5

    5

    2

    4

    3

    6

    Pretty good

    15

    17

    17

    17

    18

    21

    22

    14

    19

    17

    21

    NEGATIVE

    71

    69

    68

    68

    65

    65

    58

    73

    66

    67

    58

    Only fair

    31

    31

    34

    34

    32

    33

    29

    36

    34

    33

    27

    Poor

    39

    38

    34

    34

    32

    32

    29

    37

    32

    33

    32

    Not familiar enough to rate

    11

    11

    12

    11

    13

    9

    15

    11

    11

    14

    15

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

     

    TABLE 7

    RE-ELECT MEMBER OF CONGRESS?

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

    Base: All adults

     

    Nov 2013

    Jan 2014

    Mar. 2014

    June 2014

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    It’s time to give someone else a chance

    52

    52

    51

    49

    48

    46

    56

    49

    51

    44

    Your Congressperson deserves to be re-elected

    17

    20

    20

    20

    26

    23

    15

    24

    16

    24

    Not at all sure

    31

    28

    29

    31

    27

    31

    29

    26

    33

    32

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


    TABLE 8

    MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE – TREND

    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

    ’10

    ’11

    ’12

    ’13

    ’13

    ’13

    14

    14

    May

    Jan

    Feb

    Aug

    Dec

    Dec

    June

    Oct

    Aug

    June

    Oct

    Oct

    Mar

    Jan

    May

    Mar

    Mar

    Sept

    Dec

    Mar

    June

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    The economy (non-specific)

    8

    9

    7

    5

    32

    34

    25

    28

    19

    14

    13

    64

    50

    32

    29

    30

    27

    26

    24

    25

    27

    Employment/jobs

    5

    3

    4

    4

    7

    8

    8

    10

    3

    7

    5

    5

    21

    31

    33

    36

    26

    27

    27

    29

    23

    Healthcare (not Medicare) including Obamacare/ACA

    10

    11

    12

    15

    5

    10

    14

    18

    11

    12

    25

    22

    25

    45

    18

    21

    23

    33

    42

    29

    22

    Immigration

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    2

    3

    20

    12

    3

    4

    5

    10

    5

    9

    8

    8

    9

    17

    Budget deficit/National debt

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    3

    X

    17

    11

    16

    12

    16

    13

    11

    Education

    15

    14

    21

    25

    12

    11

    13

    7

    8

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    7

    7

    6

    6

    8

    6

    9

    Budget/Government spending

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    5

    6

    2

    6

    7

    9

    7

    20

    10

    14

    9

    7

    Taxes

    14

    16

    12

    13

    6

    5

    11

    8

    5

    4

    3

    6

    4

    4

    4

    7

    9

    5

    6

    8

    6

    Income gap/Wealth distribution/Middle class

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

    2

    4

    4

    4

    Environment

    3

    2

    3

    3

    1

    3

    2

    1

    3

    3

    3

    2

    3

    3

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    4

    4

    Gun laws/control

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    4

    3

    1

     

    4

    Foreign policy (non-specific)

    3

    5

    4

    3

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    1

    2

    2

    3

    2

    4

    3

    (Programs for) the poor/ poverty

    3

    2

    2

    3

    1

    2

    3

     

    4

    4

    4

     

    1

    2

    2

    1

    2

    4

    3

    3

    3

    Wars/Armed conflicts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    6

    4

    3

    5

    2

    3

    3

    Social security

    6

    6

    24

    16

    3

    2

    4

    4

    10

    5

    3

    3

    1

    1

    3

    3

    3

    4

    3

    2

    3

    Human/civil/women’s rights

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

     

     

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    Military/defense

    2

    2

    2

    4

    4

    1

    5

    3

    1

    4

    2

    2

    2

    1

    1

    2

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    Terrorism

    X

    X

    X

    X

    22

    17

    11

    7

    7

    4

    4

    3

    4

    6

    4

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    Crime/violence

    19

    13

    8

    10

    1

    2

    3

    1

    3

    2

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    2

    National security

    X

    X

    2

    2

    6

    3

    6

    5

    2

    2

    2

    5

    2

    4

    1

    1

    2

    1

     

    1

    2

    Downsizing government

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

     

    1

    2

    Energy

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    4

    4

    1

    4

    3

    1

    2

    3

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    Bipartisanship

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

    2

    3

    2

    1

    Welfare

    14

    8

    4

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

    3

    1

    2

     

     

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    Infrastructure

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    Homeland/domestic security/public safety

    X

    X

    X

    X

    8

    9

    3

    6

    2

    2

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

    X

    2

    2

    2

    1

    Homelessness

    4

    4

    3

    3

    2

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    3

     

     

    1

     

     

     

    1

     

    1

    1

    Gas and oil prices

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    10

    8

    2

    1

    1

     

    12

    12

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    Business accountability/bailouts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

     

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    Same sex rights

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

     

     

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Obama/president

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Medicare

    4

    5

    5

    6

    1

    1

    4

    3

    2

    1

    3

    2

     

     

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    Inflation

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    2

    3

     

    1

     

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

    1

    Abortion

    2

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    1

    4

    2

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

     

     

    1

     

     

     

    1

    Religion (decline of)

     

    1

     

    1

    2

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

    1

     

     

     

     

    1

    Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

     

     

    1

    1

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1

    Iraq

     

     

    1

    X

    X

    11

    3

    9

    6

    8

    14

    7

    2

    2

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1

    Veterans

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    Russia/Putin/Ukraine

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    (The) war

    X

    X

    X

    X

    12

    18

    8

    35

    41

    27

    24

    14

    9

    2

     

    X

     

     

    2

     

     

    NSA/Privacy issues

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

    1

     

     

    Housing

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

     

     

    1

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    2

    1

     

     

     

     

    Afghanistan

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

     

    1

     

     

     

     

     

    Syria crisis

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

    X

    X

    X

    Other

    8

    19

    2

    19

    3

    8

    8

    8

    1

    6

    5

    15

    5

    1

    3

    8

    8

    8

    8

    6

    7

    Not sure/refused/no issue

    9

    12

    16

    18

    11

    10

    12

    9

    8

    6

    8

    4

    4

    2

    4

    2

    2

    3

    2

    4

    6

    = 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 June 11 and 16, 2014 among 2,241 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris Poll.

    The Harris Poll¨ #60, June 23, 2014

    By Regina A. Corso, VP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations Research

    About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

    On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.