Half of Americans Believe President Obama Will Be Re-Elected in November

NEW YORK , N.Y. – March 22, 2012 – While the Republicans are still fighting it out for the nomination, President Obama remains out of the election fray and this may be helping his approval ratings hold steady. Just like last month, two in five Americans (40%) give the President positive ratings for the overall job he is doing while three in five (60%) give him negative ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,451 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 19, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at the possible swing states for the general election (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia) just over two in five Americans in these nine states (42%) give the President positive ratings while 58% give him negative marks.

By political party and ideology, just 7% of Republicans and 14% of Conservatives give President Obama positive ratings. Among Independents two-thirds (67%) give him negative ratings but just over half of Moderates (54%) feel the same. Among the President’s party, three-quarters of Democrats (75%) give President Obama positive ratings and one-quarter (25%) give him negative ratings. Among liberals, two-thirds (67%) give the President positive marks and 33% give him negative ratings.

Direction of the Country and Most Important Issue

Another thing that has stayed the same from last month is the direction Americans think the country is going. Again this month over one-third of U.S. adults (34%) say things are going in the right direction while two-thirds (66%) say things are going off on the wrong track.

When it comes to the two most important issues for the government to address, it’s almost all about the economy in some way. Over one-third of Americans (36%) believe the government needs to address employment and jobs while three in ten (30%) say it is the economy in general. One in five U.S. adults (21%) say the government should address healthcare while 12% say they need to deal with gas and oil prices and 11% say the issue is the budget deficit and national debt.

President Obama’s re-election chances

Status quo seems to be a theme this month for President Obama. If the election for president were to be held today, it is close with 45% of Americans likely to vote for him, 49% unlikely to vote for him and 7% who are not at all sure. Last month, 48% of U.S. adults said they would be unlikely to vote to re-elect the President and 45% said they would be likely to do so. Looking at this by party, nine in ten Republicans (89%) and half of Independents (52%) would be unlikely to vote for him, while four in five Democrats (80%) would be likely to do so. In the likely 2012 swing states, 49% say they would be unlikely to vote for the President while 44% say they would be likely to vote for him.

When it comes to what Americans think will happen on Election Day, the numbers are moving and they are moving in the President’s direction. Last month, over two in five Americans (46%) thought President Obama would be re-elected while 37% thought he would not be re-elected. This month, half (50%) of U.S. adults now believe he will be re-elected while 32% say that he will not be and 18% are not at all sure.

So What?

As the Republicans head into more primaries with a presumptive nominee but a battle to prove it, President Obama is on the sidelines and mostly free from their attacks. That seemed to help him last month and has at least allowed him to stay steady this month. But, as the overall economy ever so slowly inches back, the President now has to deal with rising gas prices putting a new crimp on people’s wallets. If these high prices linger, the thoughts of a recovery may start to fade.

 

TABLE 1

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

2012 Swing

States

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

40

7

75

33

14

46

67

42

Excellent

8

1

16

7

5

7

17

10

Pretty good

32

6

58

26

9

39

50

32

NEGATIVE

60

93

25

67

86

54

33

58

Only fair

25

25

17

31

22

28

25

24

Poor

34

67

8

36

64

26

9

34

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia


 

TABLE 2

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

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

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive

Negative

%

%

2012

March

40

60

 

February

40

60

January

36

64

2011

December

36

64

 

November

34

66

October

33

67

September

32

68

August

32

68

July

38

62

June

38

62

May 19th

45

55

May 9th

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 3

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

%

%

2012

March

34

66

 

February

34

66

January

27

73

2011

December

24

76

 

November

20

80

August

16

84

May

39

61

January

37

63

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 4

VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA

If the election for president were to be held today, how likely would you be to vote for the current president, Barack Obama?

Base: All adults

 

2011

2012

May 9

May 19

June

July

Aug.

Sept.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Feb.

March

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Likely

46

43

41

42

37

39

40

40

42

41

45

45

Very likely

33

32

30

30

27

26

26

30

29

30

33

33

Somewhat likely

14

11

11

12

10

13

13

10

13

11

12

12

Unlikely

47

49

52

52

55

53

54

53

51

52

48

49

Somewhat unlikely

7

8

7

8

7

7

8

6

8

7

5

6

Very unlikely

40

41

45

44

48

47

46

47

43

45

43

42

Not at all sure

6

8

6

6

7

8

6

7

7

7

7

7

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

 

 

 

TABLE 5

VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA – BY POLITICAL PARTY

If the election for president were to be held today, how likely would you be to vote for the current president, Barack Obama?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Political Ideology

2012 Swing States

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Likely

45

8

80

40

16

50

74

44

Very likely

33

4

65

26

11

34

63

32

Somewhat likely

12

4

15

14

5

15

12

12

Unlikely

49

89

16

52

78

44

17

49

Somewhat unlikely

6

7

3

9

5

8

5

6

Very unlikely

42

81

13

43

73

36

13

43

Not at all sure

7

4

4

8

6

6

8

7

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

 

 

 

TABLE 6

LIKELIHOOD OF OBAMA’S RE-ELECTION

If you had to say now, do you think that President Obama will be re-elected, or not?

Base: All adults

 

2011

2012

Political Party

July

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

March

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I think he will be re-elected.

35

30

30

32

35

36

46

50

19

76

52

I do not think he will be re-elected.

42

47

49

46

44

41

37

32

58

11

32

Not at all sure.

23

23

21

23

20

22

17

18

23

12

16

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

 

TABLE 7

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

10

’11

’11

’11

12

12

May

Jan

Feb

Aug

Dec

Dec

June

Oct

Aug

June

Oct

Oct

Mar

Jan

Nov

Jan

May

Sept

Jan

Mar

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Employment/jobs

5

3

4

4

7

8

8

10

3

7

5

5

21

31

36

33

33

50

42

36

The economy (non-specific)

8

9

7

5

32

34

25

28

19

14

13

64

50

32

33

24

29

27

31

30

Healthcare (not Medicare)

10

11

12

15

5

10

14

18

11

12

25

22

25

45

30

35

18

17

21

21

Gas and oil prices

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

10

8

2

1

1

 

1

1

12

2

2

12

Budget deficit/National debt

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

3

X

8

12

17

13

12

11

Taxes

14

16

12

13

6

5

11

8

5

4

3

6

4

4

7

6

4

7

10

7

Budget/Government spending

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

5

6

2

6

7

10

13

9

11

9

7

Education

15

14

21

25

12

11

13

7

8

7

6

6

5

5

6

7

7

5

8

7

Immigration

2

1

 

1

1

1

2

2

3

20

12

3

4

5

8

8

10

6

6

5

Wars/Armed conflicts

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

6

3

2

4

Energy

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

4

4

1

4

3

1

1

1

2

1

1

3

Social security

6

6

24

16

3

2

4

4

10

5

3

3

1

1

4

3

3

7

3

3

Downsizing government

X

X

X

1

 

X

X

1

 

1

1

 

1

2

2

2

1

2

4

2

Environment

3

2

3

3

1

3

2

1

3

3

3

2

3

3

2

2

2

3

3

2

Dependency on foreign oil

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

Housing

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

 

 

1

2

2

6

1

1

2

1

2

2

2

Foreign policy (non-specific)

3

5

4

3

2

4

2

3

2

2

4

2

3

2

2

1

1

3

3

2

Human/civil/women’s rights

2

1

 

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

2

 

 

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

Military/defense

2

2

2

4

4

1

5

3

1

4

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

(Programs for) the poor/ poverty

3

2

2

3

1

2

3

 

4

4

4

 

1

2

2

3

2

2

2

1

National security

X

X

2

2

6

3

6

5

2

2

2

5

2

4

1

1

1

1

2

1

Terrorism

X

X

X

X

22

17

11

7

7

4

4

3

4

6

2

2

4

1

2

1

Bipartisanship

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

2

1

1

Obama/president

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

 

 

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

Crime/violence

19

13

8

10

1

2

3

1

3

2

2

1

 

1

 

1

1

 

X

1

Ethics in government

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

Homeland/domestic security/public safety

X

X

X

X

8

9

3

6

2

2

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Medicare

4

5

5

6

1

1

4

3

2

1

3

2

 

 

2

1

2

1

1

1

Welfare

14

8

4

2

1

1

3

 

3

1

2

 

 

 

1

1

 

1

1

1

Inflation

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

2

3

 

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

Afghanistan

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

1

 

 

 

1

Religion (decline of)

 

1

 

1

2

1

1

1

 

1

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

1

Same sex rights

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

2

 

 

1

1

1

 

 

 

 

1

Abortion

2

2

2

6

1

1

1

4

2

1

2

1

1

1

 

 

 

 

1

 

Homelessness

4

4

3

3

2

2

1

 

1

1

3

 

 

1

 

1

 

 

1

 

Business accountability/bailouts

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

 

 

1

 

Infrastructure

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

1

1

 

 

Iraq

 

 

1

X

X

11

3

9

6

8

14

7

2

2

1

 

 

 

 

 

Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

1

1

1

2

1

1

3

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income gap/Wealth distribution/Middle class

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

x

X

 

(The) war

X

X

X

X

12

18

8

35

41

27

24

14

9

2

4

3

 

1

 

X

Overspending/wasting money

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

6

5

3

6

7

8

Not sure/refused/no issue

9

12

16

18

11

10

12

9

8

6

8

4

4

2

2

4

4

3

3

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 March 12 and 19, 2012 among 2,451 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.

J41436

Q1205, 1208, 1210, 1218, 1255

 

 

The Harris Poll® #31, March 22, 2012

By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

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