Americans Give President Obama Negative Ratings on Jobs, Economy, Healthcare, Education and His Handling of the Unrest in the Middle East

    NEW YORK, N.Y. – March 2, 2011 – All presidents have to deal with the same issue – too many things on their desk at once. For President Obama that has been especially true since he took office between the economy, dealing with health care reform, and now the unrest in the Middle East. In looking at his handling of some of these issues, the American public is not impressed. In fact, majorities give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of 5 of 6 different issues.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,171 adults surveyed online between February 14 and 21, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    More specifically:

    • Two-thirds of Americans (66%) give the president negative ratings on his handling of jobs while three in ten (29%) give him positive marks on this;
    • Looking at the economy overall, over three in five U.S. adults (62%) give President Obama negative ratings while one-third (33%) give him positive ones. In January, 67% gave the President negative ratings;
    • The President spent a large part of last year pushing forward his health care reform package, yet almost three in five Americans (58%) give him negative ratings on his handling of it while 37% give him positive ratings;
    • As the issue of education, from teachers’ unions to reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, takes a more prominent role, half of Americans (52%) give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of this issue and two in five (39%) give him positive marks;
    • The world has watched as the unrest in the Middle East moves from country to country and the situation changes on a daily basis. A majority of Americans (52%) give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of the situation there while 39% give him positive marks; and
    • There is a closer divide when it comes to the issue of the environment. Just under half of Americans (48%) give President Obama negative ratings while 41% give him positive marks on his handling on this issue.

    As a whole, Democrats are much more positive than Republicans on how President Obama is handling each of these six issues. For example, two-thirds of Democrats (66%) give President Obama positive ratings on his handling of health care compared to one in ten Republicans (9%) who do the same.

    So What?

    Back in 1992, James Carville posted a simple phrase in the Clinton campaign war room – It’s the Economy, Stupid. That sentiment hasn’t changed and when just half of Democrats (51%) give President Obama positive marks on his handling of jobs, that is not a good sign as the President starts planning his re-election.

     

    TABLE 1

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB ON VARIOUS ISSUES

    How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing on each of the following?

    Base: All adults

     

    POSITIVE (NET)

    Excellent

    Pretty good

    NEGATIVE

    (NET)

    Only fair

    Poor

    Not at all sure

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    The environment

    41

    9

    32

    48

    28

    20

    11

    The unrest in the Middle East

    39

    11

    28

    52

    25

    26

    9

    Education

    39

    11

    29

    52

    28

    24

    8

    Healthcare

    37

    15

    22

    58

    19

    39

    5

    The economy

    33

    9

    24

    62

    23

    39

    4

    Jobs

    29

    7

    23

    66

    26

    40

    5

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

     

    TABLE 2

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB ON VARIOUS ISSUES

    How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing on each of the following?

    Summary of those saying Excellent or Pretty good

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Region

    Political Party

    East

    Midwest

    South

    West

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    The environment

    41

    51

    39

    33

    46

    21

    63

    37

    The unrest in the Middle East

    39

    53

    36

    28

    46

    16

    63

    36

    Education

    39

    54

    40

    30

    39

    17

    64

    34

    Healthcare

    37

    50

    35

    28

    42

    9

    66

    34

    The economy

    33

    47

    32

    23

    37

    7

    59

    30

    Jobs

    29

    40

    29

    20

    33

    9

    51

    25

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

     

    TABLE 3

    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

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    2010

    2011

    Jan

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    31

    32

    33

    36

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    33

    33

    Excellent

    5

    5

    6

    6

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    7

    9

    Pretty good

    25

    27

    27

    30

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    26

    24

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    69

    68

    67

    64

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    67

    62

    Only fair

    31

    30

    31

    29

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    30

    22

    Poor

    39

    37

    36

    34

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    37

    39

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

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 14 to 21, 2011 among 3,171 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.

    J39370

    Q1225

     

     

    The Harris Poll ® #28, March 2, 2011

    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, European, and Asian 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.