Post Bin Laden Death, President Obama’s Job Rating Rises 8 points

NEW YORK , N.Y. – May 9, 2011 – With the news that the most wanted man in America had been killed by Navy Seals, President Obama had one reason to breathe a sigh of relief last week. Now, he has another as Americans seemed to rally around not only him but also feel better about the state of the country. Currently, just under half (46%) of U.S. adults give President Obama positive ratings on the overall job he is doing, a rise of eight points from last month when only 38% gave him positive marks. Just over half (54%) give the President negative ratings, down from 62% who did so last month. This is also the highest rating for the President since September of 2009 when almost half (49%) of Americans gave him positive ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,104 adults surveyed online between May 4 and 6, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Democrats and Independents contribute the most to this rise. Over three-quarters of Democrats (77%) now give President Obama positive marks for his overall job approval, up from seven in ten (69%) last month. Among Independents, almost two in five (38%) give the President positive ratings up from three in ten (31%) in April. There is even a small rise among Republicans – in April, just 9% gave the President positive ratings; now, 12% do.

Congress also sees a small rise in their job ratings. Currently, just over one in ten Americans (13%) give the overall job Congress is doing positive ratings, up five points from last month when just 8% gave them positive marks. However, almost nine in ten (87%) still give them negative ratings.

The largest positive jump is in how the country overall is doing. In April, just one-quarter of Americans (26%) thought the country was heading in the right direction while 74% thought it was going off on the wrong track. Now, two in five U.S. adults (39%) say it is going in the right direction while 61% believe it is on the wrong track – a jump of 12 points.

So What?

The news from the White House late on Sunday, May 1st has caused many Americans to feel more positive about life in general and the way this country is going. This, in turn, translates into positive feelings about the President and even, albeit to a lesser extent, Congress. The question is does this hold or is it a temporary rise until something brings it back down. If the election were held today, the country is split on President Obama’s re-election as 46% of Americans would be likely to vote for him and 47% would not be likely to do so. More than his approval ratings, these are the numbers the White House and re-election committee are watching closely.

 

 

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

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

Base: All adults

 

2009

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

55

58

59

54

51

49

45

43

41

Excellent

17

18

17

14

11

11

10

9

7

Pretty good

38

40

42

39

39

38

35

33

33

NEGATIVE

45

42

41

46

49

51

55

57

59

Only fair

27

26

25

25

25

25

27

29

30

Poor

18

15

16

21

24

26

28

29

30

 

2010

2011

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

April

May

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

40

41

41

42

39

40

38

37

38

36

44

42

39

38

46

Excellent

9

9

9

10

6

9

9

8

8

7

10

11

8

7

12

Pretty good

31

32

31

32

33

31

29

29

30

28

34

32

31

31

34

NEGATIVE

60

59

59

58

61

60

62

63

62

64

56

58

61

62

54

Only fair

30

28

26

28

29

26

28

30

29

31

28

29

29

27

26

Poor

30

31

33

30

32

34

34

33

33

34

29

29

32

35

28

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

 

 

TABLE 2

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – BY PARTY

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

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Republican

Democrat

Independent

April

May

April

May

April

May

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

46

9

12

69

77

31

38

Excellent

12

2

1

14

23

4

8

Pretty good

34

7

11

55

54

27

30

NEGATIVE

54

91

88

31

22

69

62

Only fair

26

25

30

24

16

29

34

Poor

28

66

58

7

6

40

28

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

 

 

TABLE 3

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – BY REGION, EDUCATION & GENDER

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

Base: All adults

 

Total

Region

Education

Gender

East

Midwest

South

West

H.S. or less

Some college

College grad+

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

46

47

47

44

49

43

44

54

44

48

Excellent

12

12

11

11

14

11

10

14

14

9

Pretty good

34

35

36

33

35

32

34

40

30

39

NEGATIVE

54

52

54

56

51

57

56

46

57

52

Only fair

26

26

29

24

26

27

28

23

28

25

Poor

28

26

25

32

25

30

28

23

29

27

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

 

 

TABLE 4

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

Base: All adults

 

Total

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

13

7

18

11

Excellent

1

3

1

Pretty good

12

7

15

10

NEGATIVE

87

93

81

88

Only fair

46

44

50

42

Poor

41

49

31

46

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

 

 

TABLE 5

CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

How would you rate the overall job the Congress is doing?

Base: All adults

 

TREND

Positive

Negative

%

%

2011

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

May

15

85

April

16

84

March

10

90

Jan.

16

84

2009

Dec.

17

83

 

Oct.

16

84

Sept.

19

81

Aug.

22

78

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.

Note: Prior to March, 2009, this question was asked by telephone.

 

 

TABLE 6

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

%

%

2011

May

39

61

 

April

26

74

March

28

72

February

36

64

January

37

63

2010

December

29

71

 

November

33

67

October

34

66

September

36

64

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 7

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

 

Total

Political party

Political Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Likely

46

10

78

42

16

53

78

Very likely

33

4

62

25

8

37

61

Somewhat likely

14

6

17

17

8

16

17

Unlikely

47

87

18

50

80

39

16

Somewhat unlikely

7

7

4

9

5

8

4

Very unlikely

40

79

14

41

75

30

12

Not at all sure

6

4

4

8

4

8

6

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 4 to 6, 2011 among 2,104 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.

The Harris Poll® #55, May 9, 2011

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