More Dismal Numbers in New Poll on the Economy

NEW YORK, N.Y. – September 29, 2010 – The latest Harris Poll on what the public thinks and feels about the economy makes dismal reading for the White House and the Democrats, as the campaign for this November’s mid-term elections moves into higher gear. President Obama’s ratings on his handling of the economy, 29% positive and 71% negative, are his worst yet. Only just over a quarter of the public think that the economy will improve in the next year (28%), and less than a quarter think that their household’s financial situation will improve in the next 6 months (22%). Not only are negative views held by large majorities of Republicans and Independents, they are shared by many Democrats. Furthermore people over 65, who tend to vote more heavily than younger voters in mid-term elections, are particularly gloomy, and give President Obama even lower ratings than younger adults.

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.

Some of the main findings of the poll are:

  • President Obama’s 71% negative rating on the economy is his highest ever, up from 64% in May and 68% in August. It includes 40% who rate his performance on the economy as poor and 31% who rate it as only fair;
  • Democrats are split; 51% rate the president positively, but 49% agree with the 94% of Republicans and 78% of Independents who give him negative ratings;
  • Matures (aged 65 and older) give the president higher negative ratings on the economy (77%) than any other generation;
  • Few people (28%) expect the economy to improve in the next year. Even fewer (22%) expect their household’s financial condition to improve in the next six months. This includes only 29% of Democrats who are optimistic about their household’s financial condition;
  • Fully 69% of all adults rate the job market in their region of the country as bad, while only 10% rate it as good. These numbers have not changed much for more than a year;
  • The region where the job market is most likely to be rated as bad in the West (75%), but, of course the numbers are also very high in the East (62%), the Midwest (71%) and the South (68%).

So What?

These new Harris Poll results add weight to the expectation that the Republicans will do extremely well in this November’s elections, not because the public is enthusiastic about the GOP (indeed other polls have shown that few people give it good marks) but because they will vote to express their anger and frustration at the poor state of the economy and this administration’s failure to create more jobs.

 

TABLE 1

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

March

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

47

49

46

43

39

40

34

36

31

32

33

36

32

32

29

Excellent

13

13

10

3

9

7

6

6

5

5

6

6

5

6

5

Pretty good

34

36

36

34

31

33

27

30

25

27

27

30

27

26

24

NEGATIVE (NET)

53

51

54

57

61

60

66

64

69

68

67

64

68

68

71

Only fair

30

27

30

27

25

27

30

30

31

30

31

29

32

29

31

Poor

23

24

24

30

36

33

37

34

39

37

36

34

37

39

40

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

 

TABLE 2

PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – BY GENERATION AND POLITICAL PARTY

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

Generation

Political Party

Echo

Boomers

(18-33)

Gen X

(34-45)

Baby

Boomers

(46-64)

Matures

(65+)

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE (NET)

29

32

26

30

23

6

51

22

Excellent

5

10

3

4

3

2

11

1

Pretty good

24

22

23

27

20

4

40

22

NEGATIVE (NET)

71

68

74

70

77

94

49

78

Only fair

31

38

33

30

23

21

34

35

Poor

40

30

42

40

55

73

14

43

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

 

TABLE 3

ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE COMING YEAR – TREND

In the coming year, do you expect the economy to…?

Base: All adults

2009

2010

April

May

Aug

Sept

Oct

May

June

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Improve

39

38

46

40

34

38

30

29

28

Stay the same

35

35

32

36

37

34

42

39

40

Get worse

26

27

22

24

29

28

28

32

32

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

TABLE 4

ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS – TREND

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

Base: All adults

2008

2009

Feb

Mar

June

Nov

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

39

33

40

24

20

20

23

25

21

24

23

23

18

19

Will remain the same

28

28

25

43

48

46

46

45

45

48

48

45

47

48

WORSE (NET)

34

39

36

33

32

35

31

30

33

28

29

31

35

33

2010

Jan

Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

21

21

22

25

21

22

22

Will remain the same

49

47

50

47

52

52

50

WORSE (NET)

30

32

29

28

27

26

28

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

 

TABLE 5

ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS FOR THE NEXT 6 MONTHS – BY GENERATION AND POLITICAL PARTY

 

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

Base: All adults

Total

Generation

Political Party

Echo

Boomers

(18-33)

Gen X

(34-45)

Baby

Boomers

(46-64)

Matures

(65+)

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

22

28

22

23

8

13

29

20

Will be much better

3

3

4

4

 

2

6

1

Will be somewhat better

18

25

18

19

8

10

23

19

Will remain the same

50

53

51

47

49

46

51

54

WORSE (NET)

28

19

27

30

42

41

20

26

Will be somewhat worse

21

12

21

22

35

31

17

18

Will be much worse

7

7

6

8

8

10

3

8

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


TABLE 6

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET – TREND

How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

Base: All adults

2008

2009

June

July

Jan

April

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

28

30

6

12

9

8

10

10

8

9

Neither good nor bad

18

19

18

20

19

21

22

20

18

19

BAD (NET)

53

51

76

68

72

71

68

70

73

72

2010

Jan

Mar.

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

8

10

12

10

12

10

Neither good nor bad

20

18

21

20

25

22

21

BAD (NET)

70

73

70

68

66

66

69

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

 

TABLE 7

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

Base: All adults

Total

Region

East

Midwest

South

West

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

10

9

12

9

Very good

1

3

1

 

 

Somewhat good

9

7

8

12

9

Neither good nor bad

21

27

20

20

16

BAD (NET)

69

62

71

68

75

Somewhat bad

39

39

40

38

38

Very bad

30

23

31

30

37

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than 0.5%

 

TABLE 8

EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN SIX MONTHS – TREND

How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?

Base: All adults

Jan.

2009

April

2009

June

2009

August 2009

June 2010

Aug

2010

Sept 2010

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

15

23

21

28

26

23

21

Will be much better

1

3

2

2

1

2

2

Will be somewhat better

14

20

19

26

25

21

19

Will remain the same

36

42

47

47

53

49

53

WORSE (NET)

49

36

32

25

21

27

26

Will be somewhat worse

36

29

24

19

15

22

20

Will be much worse

14

7

8

6

6

5

6

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

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

Q705, 715, 720, 725, 735

The Harris Poll® #113, September 29, 2010

By Humphrey Taylor, Chairman The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

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