Six in Ten Americans Give President Obama Negative Ratings Overall while Two-thirds Give Him Negative Ratings on the Economy

NEW YORK , N.Y. – June 24, 2013 – As the economy continues to go through ups and downs, as some scandals seem to go to the back burner while others remain in the forefront, and as the President returns from Europe and leaves for Africa, there are also differing reads on how things in the country are going right now. Looking specifically at President Obama, this month 41% of Americans give the President positive ratings for the overall job he has been doing, while 59% give him negative ratings. This is slightly up from March, when 38% of U.S. adults gave President Obama positive ratings and 62% gave him negative marks.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,210 adults surveyed online between June 12 and 17, 2013, 2013 by Harris Interactive.

By political party and ideology, just 12% of Republicans and 15% of Conservatives give President Obama positive ratings. Among Independents over three in five (62%) give him negative ratings but just over half of Moderates (55%) feel the same. Among both Democrats and Liberals, 68% give President Obama positive ratings and 32% give him negative ratings.

Congress, however, has universally low approval ratings. Only one in ten Americans (9%) give Congress positive marks on their overall job performance, while nine in ten (91%) give it negative ratings. But this is a slight improvement from March, when 6% gave Congress positive ratings and 94% gave it negative ones.

Looking at the direction of the country, 37% of Americans say things in the country are going in the right direction while 63% say things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track. Last month, 61% of U.S. adults said things had gotten off on the wrong track while 39% believed things were going in the right direction.

Unchanged are the top issues that Americans believe the government should address. Almost one-third of Americans (32%) say one of the two most important issues is the economy, while three in ten (30%) say it is employment/jobs and 22% believe it is healthcare (not Medicare). Rounding out the top five most important issues are immigration (13%) and the deficit/national debt (10%).

Economic issues

While approval ratings always matter, what seems to be ever more important is how Americans perceive the White House’s handling of economic issues. When it comes to the overall job that President Obama is doing on the economy, just over one-third of Americans (35%) give the President positive ratings, while 65% give him negative marks.

Looking at the overall economy, Americans seem to be anticipating the status quo. One-third (32%) expect the economy to improve in the coming year, 27% expect it to get worse and 41% say it will stay the same. Just about one-quarter each of U.S. adults believe their household’s financial condition will be better (24%) and will be worse (23%) in the next six months, but over half (53%) say it will remain the same.

President Obama, being in his second term, doesn’t have to run again – but there are two reasons he needs to keep on top of his approval ratings. First, he does want to ensure his legacy. That is something all second term presidents have to think about early on in the term. Second, he has to make sure that his woes do not hurt Democrats across the country as they run for other offices. So far, many high profile Democrats are deciding not to run for higher office in 2014. But Republicans are also having some troubles finding high quality candidates, so the playing field may be level.

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

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

41

12

68

38

15

45

68

Excellent

7

1

14

5

2

7

12

Pretty good

34

10

55

33

13

37

56

NEGATIVE

59

88

32

62

85

55

32

Only fair

27

24

26

27

23

30

24

Poor

32

64

6

35

63

25

8

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

7

12

8

8

10

10

Excellent

1

1

2

1

2

1

2

Pretty good

8

6

10

7

6

9

8

NEGATIVE

91

93

88

92

92

90

90

Only fair

38

41

41

33

39

35

35

Poor

52

52

47

59

53

54

54

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

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

September

13

87

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

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – TREND

Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?

Base: All adults

2009

2010

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar

Apr

May

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

2010

2011

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

May

June

July

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

32

32

29

27

31

30

33

33

33

32

27

26

Excellent

5

6

5

5

5

5

7

9

5

7

5

3

Pretty good

27

26

24

22

26

25

26

24

28

26

22

23

NEGATIVE (NET)

68

68

71

73

69

70

67

62

67

68

73

74

Only fair

32

29

31

33

30

34

30

22

29

28

30

33

Poor

37

39

40

39

39

36

37

39

38

40

43

41

2011

2012

2013

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

March

Feb

March

April

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

21

23

22

25

25

32

32

36

33

39

35

Excellent

2

3

3

4

2

3

5

4

6

6

5

Pretty good

18

20

20

22

22

29

27

32

27

32

31

NEGATIVE (NET)

79

77

78

75

75

68

68

64

67

61

65

Only fair

33

36

32

34

34

30

29

26

26

26

29

Poor

46

41

46

41

41

38

39

38

41

35

36

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; In February 2012 Not at all sure was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

TABLE 6

EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

In the coming year, do you expect the economy to’e2’80_?

Base: All adults

2009

2010

April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

30

34

29

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

40

41

45

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

30

25

26

2011

2012

2013

Feb

June

July

Sept.

Oct.

Dec.

Feb.

Feb.

March

April

May

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

34

26

23

21

20

23

36

32

30

29

32

32

Stay the same

42

41

41

45

46

47

40

40

37

41

42

41

Get worse

25

33

37

34

34

29

24

28

33

29

25

27

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

TABLE 7

EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?

Base: All adults

2013

Feb.

March

April

May

June

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

23

21

22

26

24

Much better

3

3

4

5

4

Somewhat better

20

17

18

20

20

Will remain the same

50

49

49

50

53

WORSE (NET)

27

30

28

24

23

Somewhat worse

20

21

20

18

1

Much worse

7

9

8

6

6

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


TABLE 8

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

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

TABLE 9

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

10

’11

12

12

13

13

May

Jan

Feb

Aug

Dec

Dec

June

Oct

Aug

June

Oct

Oct

Mar

Jan

May

Jan

Mar

Mar

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

The economy (non-specific)

8

9

7

5

32

34

25

28

19

14

13

64

50

32

29

31

30

27

32

Employment/jobs

5

3

4

4

7

8

8

10

3

7

5

5

21

31

33

42

36

26

30

Healthcare (not Medicare)

10

11

12

15

5

10

14

18

11

12

25

22

25

45

18

21

21

23

22

Immigration

2

1

1

1

1

2

2

3

20

12

3

4

5

10

6

5

9

13

Budget deficit/National debt

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

3

X

17

12

11

16

10

Budget/Government spending

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

5

6

2

6

7

9

9

7

20

7

Taxes

14

16

12

13

6

5

11

8

5

4

3

6

4

4

4

10

7

9

7

Education

15

14

21

25

12

11

13

7

8

7

6

6

5

5

7

8

7

6

7

Social security

6

6

24

16

3

2

4

4

10

5

3

3

1

1

3

3

3

3

4

Terrorism

X

X

X

X

22

17

11

7

7

4

4

3

4

6

4

2

1

1

3

Ethics in government

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

3

National security

X

X

2

2

6

3

6

5

2

2

2

5

2

4

1

2

1

2

3

Environment

3

2

3

3

1

3

2

1

3

3

3

2

3

3

2

3

2

3

3

Gun laws/control

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

4

3

Wars/Armed conflicts

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

6

2

4

3

2

Human/civil/women’s rights

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

1

2

2

1

2

NSA/Privacy issues

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

(Programs for) the poor/ poverty

3

2

2

3

1

2

3

4

4

4

1

2

2

2

1

2

2

Military/defense

2

2

2

4

4

1

5

3

1

4

2

2

2

1

1

2

2

1

2

Foreign policy (non-specific)

3

5

4

3

2

4

2

3

2

2

4

2

3

2

1

3

2

2

2

Crime/violence

19

13

8

10

1

2

3

1

3

2

2

1

1

1

X

1

2

1

Bipartisanship

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

pan>

1

1

1

1

Same sex rights

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

Obama/president

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Energy

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

4

4

1

4

3

1

2

1

3

1

1

Infrastructure

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

1

Housing

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

1

2

2

6

1

1

2

2

1

1

Homeland/domestic security/public safety

X

X

X

X

8

9

3

6

2

2

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

X

1

Inflation

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

2

3

1

1

1

1

1

Income gap/Wealth distribution/Middle class

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

X

1

Abortion

2

2

2

6

1

1

1

4

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

Dependency on foreign oil

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

Afghanistan

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

Homelessness

4

4

3

3

2

2

1

1

1

3

1

1

Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

1

1

1

2

1

1

3

1

1

Iraq

1

X

X

11

3

9

6

8

14

7

2

2

X

(The) war

X

X

X

X

12

18

8

35

41

27

24

14

9

2

X

X

Sequester

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

X

Overspending/wasting money

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

X

X

X

X

Other

8

19

2

19

3

8

8

8

1

6

5

15

5

1

3

7

8

8

8

Not sure/refused/no issue

9

12

16

18

11

10

12

9

8

6

8

4

4

2

4

3

2

2

2

= 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 12 and 17, 2013 among 2,210 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, 705, 713, 715

The Harris Poll‘c2’ae #39, June 24, 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.