Over Three in Five Americans Give President Obama Negative Ratings

NEW YORK, N.Y. – September 27, 2010 – Although President Obama continues to focus on the economy, especially jobs, it may prove to be a little too late for many of his constituents. More than three in five Americans (62%) give the president negative ratings on the overall job he is doing while fewer (38%) give him positive ratings. This is slightly lower than August, when 40% of U.S. adults gave him positive ratings and 60% gave him negative ones, now marking the lowest ratings of his presidency.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

 

2010

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

40

41

41

42

39

40

38

Excellent

9

9

9

10

6

9

9

Pretty good

31

32

31

32

33

31

29

NEGATIVE

60

59

59

58

61

60

62

Only fair

30

28

26

28

29

26

28

Poor

30

31

33

30

32

34

34

 

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,620 adults surveyed online between September 14 and 20, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

Looking at President Obama’s ratings from a political perspective, Republicans are the most likely to give him negative ratings (93%) followed by Conservatives (86%), while Liberals and Democrats are most likely to give him positive marks (69% and 67%, respectively). Independents, however, give him more negative than positive marks, as seven in ten of them (69%) give the President negative ratings on his job compared to 31% positive.

There are regional differences in the president’s support, as well. Almost half of those living in the East (47%) give him positive marks, as do 42% of Westerners. However, almost seven in ten Southerners (68%) and two-thirds of Midwesterners (67%) give President Obama negative ratings. Interestingly, there is no evidence of a gender gap. Over three in five men (63%) and women (62%) give the president negative marks on his job performance.

 

Direction of country

Attitudes toward the country as a whole have improved slightly since early this summer. In June, just one-third (34%) of Americans thought the country was going in the right direction. In August, that number inched up to 35% and currently it stands at 36%.


 

RIGHT DIRECTION OR WRONG TRACK

 

TREND

Right Direction

Wrong Track

%

%

2010

September

36

64

 

August

35

65

June

34

66

April

39

61

March

33

67

January

37

63

 

Most important issue to address

However, concern over jobs and the economy has increased. In June, just over one-quarter of Americans said the most important issues to address were employment/jobs (28%) and the economy (28%). This has definitely not changed and even more Americans believe these issues need to be addressed. Now, over one-third (37%) of U.S. adults say employment or jobs is the most important issue and 34% say it is the economy.

 

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR GOVERNMENT TOADDRESS

2010

2010

June

Sept

%

%

Employment/jobs

28

37

The economy (non-specific)

28

34

Healthcare (not Medicare)

23

24

Budget/Government spending

10

11

Immigration

12

10

Taxes

4

7

Budget deficit/National debt

8

6

Education

6

6

(The) war

6

4

Environment

7

3

 

So What?

Not surprisingly, the mantra from the 1992 campaign continues to hold true – it is the economy. And until people feel better about jobs and the money they can save and spend, they are looking for a scapegoat. Right now, the focus is on one person – the president and they are looking to him for answers. Unfortunately, his numbers will continue to be low until those answers are provided.

 

 

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

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

Base: All adults

 

2009

2010

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

55

58

59

54

51

49

45

43

41

40

41

41

42

39

40

38

Excellent

17

18

17

14

11

11

10

9

7

9

9

9

10

6

9

9

Pretty good

38

40

42

39

39

38

35

33

33

31

32

31

32

33

31

29

NEGATIVE

45

42

41

46

49

51

55

57

59

60

59

59

58

61

60

62

Only fair

27

26

25

25

25

25

27

29

30

30

28

26

28

29

26

28

Poor

18

15

16

21

24

26

28

29

30

30

31

33

30

32

34

34

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

 

 

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 Philosophy

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Cons.

Mod.

Lib.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

38

7

67

31

14

39

69

Excellent

9

2

18

4

4

6

22

Pretty good

29

4

49

26

10

33

48

NEGATIVE

62

93

33

69

86

61

31

Only fair

28

28

24

32

21

36

22

Poor

34

66

9

37

65

25

9

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than .5%

 

 

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

Post grad

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

38

47

33

32

42

35

38

37

50

37

38

Excellent

9

12

7

7

10

9

8

9

10

11

7

Pretty good

29

35

26

25

31

26

31

28

40

26

31

NEGATIVE

62

53

67

68

58

65

62

63

50

63

62

Only fair

28

27

33

27

28

29

29

28

24

26

30

Poor

34

26

34

41

31

36

33

35

26

36

32

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

 

 


TABLE 4

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

%

%

2010

September

36

64

 

August

35

65

June

34

66

April

39

61

March

33

67

January

37

63

2009

December

37

63

 

August

46

54

March

32

68

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

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

 

 

TABLE 5

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR GOVERNMENT to address

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

09

10

10

10

10

May

Jan

Feb

Aug

Dec

Dec

June

Oct

Aug

June

Oct

Oct

Mar

Nov

Jan

Apr

June

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Employment/jobs

5

3

4

4

7

8

8

10

3

7

5

5

21

24

31

34

28

37

The economy (non-specific)

8

9

7

5

32

34

25

28

19

14

13

64

50

34

32

27

28

34

Healthcare (not Medicare)

10

11

12

15

5

10

14

18

11

12

25

22

25

47

45

34

23

24

Budget/Government spending

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

5

6

2

6

11

7

9

10

11

Immigration

2

1

 

1

1

1

2

2

3

20

12

3

4

5

5

7

12

10

Taxes

14

16

12

13

6

5

11

8

5

4

3

6

4

4

4

7

4

7

Budget deficit/National debt

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

3

X

X

8

8

6

Education

15

14

21

25

12

11

13

7

8

7

6

6

5

5

5

6

6

6

(The) war

X

X

X

X

12

18

8

35

41

27

24

14

9

9

2

6

6

4

Environment

3

2

3

3

1

3

2

1

3

3

3

2

3

4

3

3

7

3

(Programs for) the poor/ poverty

3

2

2

3

1

2

3

 

4

4

4

 

1

2

2

1

1

2

Downsizing government

X

X

X

1

 

X

X

1

 

1

1

 

1

2

2

3

2

2

Housing

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

 

 

1

2

2

6

1

1

1

1

2

Social security

6

6

24

16

3

2

4

4

10

5

3

3

1

2

1

2

2

2

Regulating banking/financial services

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

8

1

3

4

2

2

Terrorism

X

X

X

X

22

17

11

7

7

4

4

3

4

3

6

2

3

2

Foreign policy (non-specific)

3

5

4

3

2

4

2

3

2

2

4

2

3

2

2

2

2

2

Ethics in government

 

 

 

 

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

Afghanistan

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

National security

X

X

2

2

6

3

6

5

2

2

2

5

2

1

4

3

2

2

Business accountability/bailouts

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

Energy

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

4

4

1

4

3

1

1

2

5

1

Obama/president

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

 

 

1

1

1

1

1

Welfare

14

8

4

2

1

1

3

 

3

1

2

 

 

1

 

1

1

1

Military/defense

2

2

2

4

4

1

5

3

1

4

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

Human/civil/women’s rights

2

1

 

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

2

 

 

1

1

 

1

1

Honesty/Integrity/Moral Values

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

 

1

1

1

Religion (decline of)

 

1

 

1

2

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

Homelessness

4

4

3

3

2

2

1

 

1

1

3

 

 

1

1

 

 

1

Gas and oil prices

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

10

8

2

1

1

1

 

1

 

1

Crime/violence

19

13

8

10

1

2

3

1

3

2

2

1

 

1

1

1

 

1

Same sex rights

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

2

 

 

1

1

1

1

 

 

Judicial/Legal Issues

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

2

1

1

 

1

1

1

1

1

 

Medicare

4

5

5

6

1

1

4

3

2

1

3

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iraq

 

 

1

X

X

11

3

9

6

8

14

7

2

4

2

2

2

 

Middle East peace process between Palestinians and Israel

X

X

X

X

2

2

2

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abortion

2

2

2

6

1

1

1

4

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

 

 

 

Family values (decline of)

2

1

2

1

 

 

1

1

1

1

1

 

 

X

 

 

x

 

Inflation

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

2

3

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

Domestic/social issues (non-specific)

2

3

2

2

2

2

1

2

2

3

3

1

1

1

2

2

2

 

Peace/world peace/nuclear arms

1

3

3

1

2

2

3

 

1

1

2

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

Socialism agenda/country’s socialism

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

1

 

 

 

Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

1

1

1

2

1

1

3

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drugs

8

6

2

5

2

3

3

 

2

1

3

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

Oil Spill in Gulf/BP oil spill

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

20

x

Other1

8

19

2

19

3

8

8

8

1

6

5

15

5

3

1

3

2

5

Not sure/refused/no issue

9

12

16

18

11

10

12

9

8

6

8

4

4

3

2

2

4

1

= Less than 0.5%, X = Not mentioned as specific issue

1 Including prescription drug prices, credit problems, trade, disability, corporate scandals, right to bear arms, youth and government (other)

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 14 to 20, 2010 among 2,620 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.

J38847

Q1205, 1208, 1210

The Harris Poll ® #111, September 27, 2010

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

 

About Harris Interactive

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