Autumn Brings Falling Job Performance Ratings for President Obama

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – September 22, 2014 – Tomorrow signals the official start of autumn, and leaves will soon start falling our nation’s capital. They won’t be alone though, as President Obama’s ratings continue to fall. Only three in ten U.S. adults (30%) give the President positive ratings for the overall job he is doing, while 70% give him negative ratings. One could say that autumn came early to the White House, given that his ratings began to fall in summer. President Obama had his highest ratings for this year in May and June, when positive ratings sat at 38%. With July came an early fall, to 34%, continuing to 32% in August. The 30% of Americans now giving the President’s overall job performance a positive rating is the lowest level seen thus far for this administration.

    Looking by political leanings, the majority of Democrats (57%) give the President positive ratings. Meanwhile, over nine in ten Republicans (93%) give him negative marks; a quarter of Independents (25%) give the President positive ratings, while three-quarters (75%) give him negative ratings.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,543 adults surveyed online between September 10 and 17, 2014.

    Direction of the country

    Feelings on the direction of the country have also fallen. After a slight improvement last month to one-third of Americans (32%) saying things in the country were going in the right direction and two-thirds (68%) saying things had gotten off on the wrong track, September brings a drop. Just under three in ten (29%) now say things are going in the right direction, while just over seven in ten (71%) say things are going off on the wrong track. This puts the sentiment that things in the country are going in the right direction at their lowest level in nearly a year.

    Economic ratings

    General sentiments on economic issues also show varying rates of decline. Similar to overall job performance ratings, 29% of Americans give President Obama positive ratings on his handling of the economy and 71% give him negative ratings. This sentiment is only slightly down from the past two months, when three in ten (30%) gave him positive ratings for his handling of the economy and seven in ten (70%) gave him negative marks. Nevertheless, this is the lowest the President’s ratings in this area have been since January, when 28% of U.S. adults gave him positive marks on the economy.

    Looking at expectations for what the next year might bring for our nation’s economy, just over two in ten say they expect the economy to improve in the coming year (22%) while just under three in ten say that they expect it to get worse (29%); nearly half (49%) say it will stay the same. In August, one-fourth of Americans (25%) said the economy would improve in the coming year and 29% said it would get worse.

    What about the situation closer to home? When asked about what they’re expecting for their household financial condition in the near future, just over two in ten Americans (22%) say they expect it to be better in the next six months, while over half (53%) say it will remain the same and one-quarter (25%) believe it will be worse. In August, 24% said their household’s financial condition would be better in the next six months while 25% said it would be worse.

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    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

    %

    %

    2014

    September

    30

    70

     

    August

    32

    68

    July

    34

    66

    June

    38

    62

    May

    38

    62

    April

    33

    67

    March

    35

    65

    February

    35

    65

    January

    32

    68

    2013

    December

    34

    66

     

    November

    32

    68

    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

    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

    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

    30

    7

    57

    25

    9

    31

    58

    Excellent

    5

    2

    11

    4

    2

    4

    13

    Pretty good

    24

    6

    47

    21

    7

    27

    45

    NEGATIVE

    70

    93

    43

    75

    91

    69

    42

    Only fair

    29

    20

    32

    33

    15

    37

    31

    Poor

    41

    72

    10

    42

    75

    31

    11

    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

    2010

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    31

    32

    33

    36

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    6

    6

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    25

    27

    27

    30

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    69

    68

    67

    64

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    31

    30

    31

    29

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    39

    37

    36

    34

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    Feb

    Mar

    Apr

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    26

    21

    23

    22

    25

    25

    32

    32

    36

    33

    39

    35

    33

    29

    30

    30

    29

    Excellent

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    3

    2

    3

    3

    4

    2

    3

    5

    4

    6

    6

    5

    5

    4

    5

    6

    4

    Pretty good

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    23

    18

    20

    20

    22

    22

    29

    27

    32

    27

    32

    31

    28

    28

    25

    24

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    74

    79

    77

    78

    75

    75

    68

    68

    64

    67

    61

    65

    67

    71

    70

    70

    71

    Only fair

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    33

    33

    36

    32

    34

    34

    30

    29

    26

    26

    26

    29

    29

    31

    28

    29

    30

    Poor

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    41

    46

    41

    46

    41

    41

    38

    39

    38

    41

    35

    36

    38

    40

    42

    41

    41

    2014

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    July

    Aug

    Sept

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    28

    31

    31

    32

    35

    32

    30

    30

    29

    Excellent

    5

    4

    5

    5

    5

    7

    7

    6

    6

    Pretty good

    23

    27

    26

    27

    29

    25

    23

    25

    24

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    72

    69

    69

    68

    65

    68

    70

    70

    71

    Only fair

    30

    29

    27

    29

    26

    28

    27

    31

    31

    Poor

    42

    40

    42

    39

    39

    40

    43

    39

    40

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; In February 2012 Not at all sure was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

     

     

    TABLE 4

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – By Political Party and Generation

    Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Generation

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Millennials (18-37)

    Gen X (38-49)

    Baby Boomers (50-68)

    Matures (69+)

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    29

    8

    55

    25

    28

    30

    32

    26

    Excellent

    6

    2

    12

    4

    6

    6

    6

    5

    Pretty good

    24

    6

    43

    21

    22

    24

    26

    21

    NEGATIVE

    71

    92

    45

    75

    72

    70

    68

    74

    Only fair

    31

    23

    33

    34

    39

    31

    27

    21

    Poor

    40

    68

    12

    41

    33

    40

    41

    54

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

     

     

    TABLE 5

    EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

    Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    2013

    2014

    Feb

    Mar

    April

    May

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    Aug

    Sept

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    23

    21

    22

    26

    24

    24

    19

    18

    20

    23

    22

    21

    24

    23

    23

    24

    22

    Much better

    3

    3

    4

    5

    4

    5

    4

    3

    4

    4

    4

    4

    5

    4

    6

    6

    4

    Somewhat better

    20

    17

    18

    20

    20

    19

    15

    15

    16

    18

    19

    17

    20

    19

    18

    18

    18

    Will remain the same

    50

    49

    49

    50

    53

    49

    52

    48

    50

    49

    52

    52

    52

    54

    51

    51

    53

    WORSE (NET)

    27

    30

    28

    24

    23

    26

    29

    34

    30

    29

    26

    27

    23

    23

    26

    25

    25

    Somewhat worse

    20

    21

    20

    18

    17

    18

    21

    24

    19

    19

    18

    19

    17

    17

    18

    17

    18

    Much worse

    7

    9

    8

    6

    6

    9

    8

    11

    11

    10

    8

    8

    7

    7

    8

    8

    7

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

     

    TABLE 6

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

    In the coming year, do you expect the economy toÉ?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    April

    May

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    39

    38

    46

    40

    34

    38

    30

    29

    28

    30

    34

    29

    Stay the same

    35

    35

    32

    36

    37

    34

    42

    39

    40

    40

    41

    45

    Get worse

    26

    27

    22

    24

    29

    28

    28

    32

    32

    30

    25

    26

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Feb

    June

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Dec.

    Feb.

    Dec.

    Feb.

    March

    April

    May

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    34

    26

    23

    21

    20

    23

    36

    33

    32

    30

    29

    32

    Stay the same

    42

    41

    41

    45

    46

    47

    40

    31

    40

    37

    41

    42

    Get worse

    25

    33

    37

    34

    34

    29

    24

    36

    28

    33

    29

    25

    2013

    2014

    June

    July

    Aug.

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    32

    29

    27

    22

    22

    25

    27

    26

    26

    24

    26

    22

    25

    22

    Stay the same

    41

    44

    42

    46

    37

    44

    42

    44

    43

    45

    48

    51

    46

    49

    Get worse

    27

    27

    31

    32

    41

    32

    32

    30

    32

    31

    27

    26

    29

    29

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

     

     

     

    TABLE 7

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – By Political Party and Generation

    In the coming year, do you expect the economy toÉ?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Generation

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Millennials (18-37)

    Gen X (38-49)

    Baby Boomers (50-68)

    Matures (69+)

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    22

    13

    41

    15

    23

    23

    21

    23

    Stay the Same

    49

    47

    46

    52

    55

    50

    46

    38

    Worsen

    29

    39

    13

    33

    22

    27

    33

    39

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

     

     

    TABLE 8

    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

    %

    %

    2014

    September

    29

    71

    August

    32

    68

    July

    31

    69

    June

    33

    67

    May

    35

    65

    April

    34

    66

    March

    34

    66

    February

    34

    66

    January

    31

    69

    2013

    December

    33

    67

    November

    30

    70

    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

     

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 10 and 17, 2014 among 2,543 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris Poll.

     

    The Harris Poll #87, September 22, 2014

    By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Director, The Harris Poll

    About The Harris Poll¨

    Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit the Harris Poll News Room.