Half of Americans Do Not Believe President Obama Will be Re-elected

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – October 20, 2011 – One year from now the country will be in the final days of the 2012 presidential campaign. Most likely the final debates will have been held and the two candidates will be on their final campaign trips wooing undecided voters. President Obama will be trying to move on to a second term and one of the Republicans will be trying to stop that. However, the President is heading into this year-long campaign with only one-third of Americans (33%) giving the job he is doing positive ratings while two-thirds (67%) give him negative marks. This is almost unchanged from last month when 32% gave him positive ratings and 68% gave him negative ones.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

    Looking back

    Going back to The Harris Poll Vault, we can take a look to see what the ratings of other presidents were one year before they attempted to win a second term. Only one, Jimmy Carter had lower ratings with 25% of Americans giving him positive marks while three-quarters (74%) gave him negative ratings.

    PRESIDENTS’ RATINGS OCTOBER ONE YEAR BEFORE ELECTION

    How would you rate the overall job President (Name) is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    Gerald Ford (10/75)

    %

    38

    59

    Jimmy Carter (10/79)

    %

    25

    74

    Ronald Reagan (10/83)

    %

    47

    52

    George H.W. Bush (10/91)

    %

    57

    42

    Bill Clinton (10/95)

    %

    47

    52

    George W. Bush (10/03)

    %

    59

    40

    Barack Obama (10/11)

    %

    33

    67

    Note: Not sure responses excluded; asked by phone prior to President Obama

    Of these presidents, three won re-election, all with positive ratings over 45%. But, as President George H.W. Bush would be the first to say, high approval ratings do not guarantee re-election.

    Congress and direction of the country

    One thing President Obama can feel good about is his ratings are better than those of Congress. Just 5% of Americans give the job Congress is doing positive ratings while 95% give them negative ratings. This is almost unchanged from last month when 6% gave Congress positive marks and 94% gave them negative ratings. This sense of dissatisfaction is extended to how things overall are as well. Just one in five Americans (20%) say things in the country are going in the right direction while 80% say they have pretty seriously gone off on the wrong track.

    President Obama and re-election

    If the election for president was to be held today, over half of Americans (54%) say they would be unlikely to vote for President Obama while 40% say they would be likely to and 6% are not at all sure. When asked if they think he will be re-elected, half of U.S. adults (49%) say they do not think he will be while three in ten (30%) say he will and one in five (21%) are not at all sure. Even Democrats are unsure of his re-election chances as just half (54%) say they think he will be re-elected while one-quarter say he will not be (23%) and another quarter (24%) are not at all sure.

    So What?

    One year is a lifetime in American politics. Anything can happen in a blink of an eye that can change the momentum of a race, good or bad. But, while the sample is small, when approval ratings are below 40% one year out as they were for Carter and Ford, re-election does not seem to be in the cards the following November. Thirteen months from now we’ll know if this is a true measure of re-election or not.


     

     

    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

    %

    %

    2011

    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 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

    33

    5

    62

    27

    10

    35

    63

    Excellent

    5

    1

    13

    1

    2

    4

    14

    Pretty good

    28

    5

    49

    26

    9

    31

    49

    NEGATIVE

    67

    95

    38

    73

    90

    65

    37

    Only fair

    32

    27

    29

    37

    24

    38

    29

    Poor

    35

    68

    9

    36

    65

    28

    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

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    5

    5

    7

    2

    Excellent

     

    1

     

    Pretty good

    5

    5

    6

    2

    NEGATIVE

    95

    95

    93

    98

    Only fair

    32

    35

    30

    28

    Poor

    63

    60

    63

    69

    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

    %

    %

    2011

    October

    5

    95

     

    September

    6

    94

    August

    5

    95

    July

    8

    92

    June

    11

    89

    May 19th

    12

    88

    May 9th

    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.

     


     

    TABLE 5

    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

    October

    20

    80

     

    September

    22

    78

    August

    16

    84

    July

    25

    75

    June

    32

    68

    May

    39

    61

    April

    26

    74

    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 6

    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

     

    May 9

    May 19

    June

    July

    August

    Sept.

    Oct.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Likely

    46

    43

    41

    42

    37

    39

    40

    Very likely

    33

    32

    30

    30

    27

    26

    26

    Somewhat likely

    14

    11

    11

    12

    10

    13

    13

    Unlikely

    47

    49

    52

    52

    55

    53

    54

    Somewhat unlikely

    7

    8

    7

    8

    7

    7

    8

    Very unlikely

    40

    41

    45

    44

    48

    47

    46

    Not at all sure

    6

    8

    6

    6

    7

    8

    6

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

     

     

     

    TABLE 7

    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

     

    Oct.

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Likely

    40

    9

    73

    35

    15

    42

    73

    Very likely

    26

    4

    55

    20

    9

    26

    53

    Somewhat likely

    13

    5

    18

    15

    6

    16

    20

    Unlikely

    54

    90

    22

    57

    82

    50

    20

    Somewhat unlikely

    8

    5

    6

    10

    5

    10

    6

    Very unlikely

    46

    85

    16

    47

    76

    41

    15

    Not at all sure

    6

    1

    5

    8

    4

    8

    7

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

     

     

     

    TABLE 8

    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

     

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    I think he will be re-elected.

    35

    30

    30

    9

    54

    28

    I do not think he will be re-elected.

    42

    47

    49

    79

    23

    52

    Not at all sure.

    23

    23

    21

    12

    24

    20

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

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011 among 2,463 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.

    J40806

    Q1205, 1210, 1215, 1218, 1250

     

     

    The Harris Poll ® #110, October 20, 2011

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

    About Harris Interactive

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