Four in Five Americans Believe Country is Going Off on the Wrong Track

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – October 28, 2013 – As the government continues to come back from the 16 days it was shut down, people are still taking stock of the damage that was done and who may have ‘won’ and who lost during those two plus weeks. Unfortunately it looks like the country as a whole seems to have lost the most. Currently, just one in five Americans (20%) say the country is going in the right direction while 80% say it’s going off on the wrong track. This is a large drop from last month when three in ten U.S. adults (29%) said the country was going in the right direction and 71% believed it was going off on the wrong track.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,368 adults surveyed online between October 16 and 21, 2013 by Harris Interactive. Please note that most of the data was collected after the government re-opened after the shutdown.

    Looking at President Obama, his ratings are mostly unchanged in the past month. In September 34% of Americans gave him positive ratings for the overall job he was doing, while 66% gave the President negative ratings. This month, almost the same number (35%) give the President positive marks for the overall job he is doing, while two-thirds (65%) give him negative ratings.

    Looking back at the previous government shutdown, when Bill Clinton was President, he also didn’t see much of a difference in his job ratings from before to after the shutdown. In early December of 1995, after the 5 day shutdown, just under half of Americans (49%) gave the President positive marks, while 50% gave him negative ratings. In January, right after the government opened up again and right before he delivered his State of the Union address, 48% gave him positive ratings while 51% of U.S. adults gave him negative ratings.

    It’s much worse for Congress

    Congress, however, seems yet to find their bottom. In September 7% of Americans gave them a positive rating for their job performance while 93% gave them a negative rating. This month they hit the lowest mark since The Harris Poll began measuring Congressional job approval in 2006 as just 4% of Americans give them positive ratings on the overall job they are doing while 96% give them negative ratings. In fact almost three-quarters of U.S. adults (72%) give Congress a rating of poor, the lowest on our scale.

    A pox on all your houses

    Looking at the recent partisan bickering in Washington, one-third of Americans (34%) say Republicans deserve the most blame while 17% say Democrats deserve the most blame. But more than two in five U.S. adults (42%) say both parties equally deserve the blame. When it comes to which chamber of Congress or which end of Pennsylvania Avenue deserves the most blame, almost half of Americans (46%) say all three equally deserve the blame. Just over one in five (22%) believe the U.S. House of Representatives deserves the most blame while 15% say The While House does and 9% believe the U.S. Senate deserves the most blame.

    To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

    Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

     

    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

    October

    35

    65

     

    September

    34

    66

    July

    39

    61

    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

    35

    6

    63

    31

    11

    38

    61

    Excellent

    7

    1

    16

    4

    2

    6

    17

    Pretty good

    28

    5

    47

    28

    9

    32

    44

    NEGATIVE

    65

    94

    37

    69

    89

    62

    39

    Only fair

    26

    20

    27

    28

    18

    31

    26

    Poor

    40

    74

    10

    41

    71

    31

    13

    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

    4

    4

    4

    3

    3

    4

    4

    Excellent

    1

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    Pretty good

    3

    3

    3

    3

    2

    4

    3

    NEGATIVE

    96

    96

    96

    97

    97

    96

    96

    Only fair

    24

    27

    20

    24

    26

    25

    19

    Poor

    72

    69

    75

    74

    72

    71

    77

    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

    October

    4

    96

     

    September

    7

    93

    July

    9

    91

    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

    March

    10

    90

    February

    14

    86

    January

    16

    84

    2010

    December

    11

    89

     

    November

    13

    87

    October

    11

    89

    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

    RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK – TREND

    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

    October

    20

    80

     

    September

    29

    71

     

    July

    34

    66

     

    May

    39

    61

    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 6

    PARTISAN BICKERING

    Thinking about the recent partisan bickering in Washington, D.C., which party do you think deserves the most blame?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Republicans

    34

    8

    66

    26

    10

    36

    65

    Democrats

    17

    41

    4

    13

    37

    10

    4

    Both equally

    42

    46

    26

    53

    46

    46

    27

    Not at all sure

    7

    5

    3

    7

    7

    8

    4

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

     

    TABLE 7

    BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT BICKERING

    And, which of these branches of government do you think deserves the most blame?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Political Ideology

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    U.S. House of Representatives

    22

    5

    42

    19

    5

    23

    45

    The White House

    15

    37

    2

    13

    32

    10

    3

    U.S. Senate

    9

    6

    11

    9

    9

    7

    12

    All of them equally

    46

    48

    36

    52

    47

    51

    34

    Not at all sure

    8

    4

    8

    7

    7

    9

    6

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

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 16 and 21, 2013 among 2,368 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.

    J43567

    Q1205, 1210, 1215, 1220, 1225

    The Harris Poll® #75, October 28, 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® 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 across a wide range of industries. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing a client’s research investment. Serving clients worldwide through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help our clients stay ahead of what’s next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.