Ratings For Congress, the Parties and Congressional Leaders Remain Very Low

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – July 29, 2014 – Over the past few months the air in Washington, D.C. has continued to grow heavy and oppressive, and this has had nothing to do with the weather. The partisan fighting is contentious and the intra-party fighting is not far behind in intensity. Americans are definitely taking notice of this, and the force of their displeasure is evident in how they feel about Congress, the political parties there, and some of the Congressional leaders.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,306 adults surveyed online between July 16 and 21, 2014.

    When it comes to the overall job they are doing, just under one in ten Americans (9%) give Congress positive ratings while over nine in ten (91%) give them negative ratings. This is similar to last month, when nine in ten (90%) gave them negative ratings while one in ten (10%) gave them negative marks. These negative ratings are across the board. Almost three in five U.S. adults (58%) give Congress a rating of poor, the lowest in The Harris Poll‘s scale. Over half of both Republicans (54%) and Democrats (53%) give them a rating of poor, while two-thirds of Independents (66%) give Congress a poor rating.

    The parties don’t fare much better. Just over one in ten Americans (14%) give Republicans in Congress a positive rating, while over half (54%) give them a negative rating. For Democrats in Congress, less than one in five (17%) give them a positive rating while over half (53%) give them a negative rating. For Democrats this is very similar to their ratings in January (16% positive/54% negative), while Republicans are actually up from where they were in January (9% positive/59% negative).

    Looking at the two partisan leaders in the House of Representatives, more than half of Americans give both Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner (55%) and Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (52%) negative ratings for the jobs they are doing. Less than one in five give Minority Leader Pelosi (15%) positive ratings while just over one in ten (13%) give Speaker Boehner positive ratings. Three in ten Americans (30%) are not familiar enough with Leader Pelosi to have an opinion and almost one-third (32%) say the same about Speaker Boehner. Again, these are almost unchanged from January, when Speaker Boehner had positive ratings of 12% and negative ratings of 56%, and Leader Pelosi had positive marks of 17% and negative ratings of 55%.

    Moving to the other chamber of Congress, the news isn’t much better for Senate leaders. Maybe one positive is that more than two in five Americans are not familiar enough to have an opinion of either Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (41%) or Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (50%). But two in five (40%) give Senator McConnell negative ratings while 45% give negative marks to the job Senator Reid is doing. Just one in ten Americans (10%) give Senator McConnell positive ratings and slightly more (14%) give Senator Reid positive ratings.

     

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    TABLE 1

    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

    9

    7

    12

    8

    10

    7

    13

    Excellent

    1

    1

    3

     

    3

     

    2

    Pretty good

    8

    6

    9

    8

    7

    7

    11

    NEGATIVE

    91

    93

    88

    92

    90

    93

    87

    Only fair

    33

    39

    35

    26

    38

    31

    29

    Poor

    58

    54

    53

    66

    52

    61

    58

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

     

    TABLE 2

    FAMILIARITY WITH CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS

    Are you familiar enough with each of the following to have an opinion regarding them?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    2011

    2012

    2013

    2014

    Mar

    Aug

    Dec

    Mar

    June

    Oct

    Jan

    May

    Oct

    Jan

    July

    Jan

    July

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    68

    67

    71

    69

    69

    72

    69

    75

    72

    66

    71

    72

    70

    Democrats in Congress

    66

    68

    67

    68

    68

    67

    66

    66

    67

    66

    69

    71

    70

    House Speaker John Boehner

    37

    27

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    37

    48

    54

    60

    56

    64

    68

    69

    Republicans in Congress

    62

    63

    64

    67

    64

    64

    63

    62

    66

    66

    67

    68

    68

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    32

    39

    44

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    N/a

    53

    53

    50

    54

    57

    59

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    n/a

    46

    46

    50

    Note: N/a indicates not asked; In January 2011 Nancy Pelosi became House Minority Leader (from House Speaker) and John Boehner became House Speaker (from House Minority Leader).


    TABLE 3

    RATINGS OF SENIOR CABINET MEMBERS, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS

    How would you rate the overall job each of the following is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Excellent

    Pretty Good

    Negative

    Only Fair

    Poor

    Not Familiar

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Democrats in Congress

    17

    3

    14

    53

    23

    30

    30

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    15

    3

    15

    52

    17

    35

    30

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    14

    3

    10

    45

    14

    31

    41

    House Speaker John Boehner

    13

    3

    10

    55

    21

    34

    32

    Republicans in Congress

    14

    2

    12

    54

    20

    33

    32

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    10

    2

    8

    40

    19

    21

    50

    Positive = excellent or pretty good Negative = only fair or poor; In January 2011 Nancy Pelosi became House Minority Leader (from House Speaker) and John Boehner became House Speaker (from House Minority Leader).

     

    TABLE 4

    RATING OF HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER – TREND

    How would you rate the job House Speaker John Boehner is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2014

    July

    %

    13

    55

    32

    Jan.

    %

    12

    56

    32

    2013

    July

    %

    13

    51

    36

    2012

    Jan.

    %

    11

    46

    44

    2011

    Oct.

    %

    17

    43

    40

    May

    %

    22

    32

    46

    Jan.

    %

    22

    27

    52

    2010

    Oct.

    %

    12

    25

    63

    2009

    Aug.

    %

    8

    19

    73

    March

    %

    9

    16

    75

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding; Until January 2011 John Boehner was House Minority Leader.

     

    TABLE 5

    RATING OF SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL – TREND

    How would you rate the job Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2014

    July

    %

    10

    40

    50

    Jan

    %

    7

    38

    54

    2013

    July

    %

    11

    35

    54

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


    TABLE 6

    RATING OF HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI – TREND

    How would you rate the job House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2014

    July

    %

    18

    52

    30

    Jan

    %

    17

    55

    28

    2013

    July

    %

    18

    53

    29

    2012

    Jan

    %

    13

    53

    34

    2011

    Oct.

    %

    18

    54

    28

    May

    %

    24

    51

    25

    Jan.

    %

    22

    48

    31

    2010

    Oct.

    %

    19

    52

    28

    June

    %

    20

    49

    31

    March

    %

    16

    52

    31

    Jan.

    %

    18

    50

    32

    2009

    Dec.

    %

    22

    49

    29

    Sept.

    %

    20

    49

    31

    Aug.

    %

    19

    48

    33

    June

    %

    18

    49

    34

    May

    %

    21

    45

    34

    April

    %

    21

    44

    35

    March

    %

    23

    45

    32

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding; until January 2011 Nancy Pelosi was House Speaker.

     

    TABLE 7

    RATING OF SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID – TREND

    How would you rate the job Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2014

    July

    %

    14

    45

    41

    Jan

    %

    12

    45

    43

    2013

    July

    %

    11

    43

    46

    2012

    Jan.

    %

    8

    42

    50

    2011

    Oct.

    %

    10

    42

    47

    May

    %

    17

    36

    47

    2009

    Dec.

    %

    11

    33

    56

    Aug.

    %

    10

    29

    61

    March

    %

    12

    26

    61

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


    TABLE 8

    RATING OF DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS – TREND

    How would you rate the job the Democrats in Congress are doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2014

    July

     

    17

    53

    30

    Jan.

    %

    16

    54

    29

    2013

    July

    %

    18

    51

    31

    2012

    Jan.

    %

    13

    53

    34

    2011

    Oct.

    %

    12

    54

    33

    May

    %

    18

    48

    34

    Jan.

    %

    19

    47

    34

    2010

    Oct.

    %

    16

    51

    33

    June

    %

    14

    54

    32

    March

    %

    14

    54

    32

    Jan.

    %

    17

    54

    29

    2009

    Dec.

    %

    18

    50

    33

    Sept.

    %

    18

    51

    31

    Aug.

    %

    21

    47

    32

    June

    %

    21

    43

    35

    May

    %

    25

    39

    36

    April

    %

    22

    42

    36

    March

    %

    25

    41

    34

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.

     

    TABLE 9

    RATING OF REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS – TREND

    How would you rate the job the Republicans in Congress are doing?

    Base: All adults

    Positive

    Negative

    Not Familiar

    2014

    July

    %

    14

    54

    32

    Jan.

    %

    9

    59

    32

    2013

    July

    %

    11

    56

    33

    2012

    Jan.

    %

    10

    56

    34

    2011

    Oct.

    %

    13

    53

    34

    May

    %

    18

    44

    38

    Jan.

    %

    20

    44

    37

    2010

    Oct.

    %

    14

    51

    36

    June

    %

    11

    52

    36

    March

    %

    16

    51

    33

    Jan.

    %

    16

    50

    34

    2009

    Dec.

    %

    14

    50

    36

    Sept.

    %

    11

    54

    35

    Aug.

    %

    12

    52

    37

    June

    %

    12

    46

    42

    May

    %

    14

    45

    41

    April

    %

    14

    48

    39

    March

    %

    15

    47

    38

    Excellent or pretty good. Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


    TABLE 10

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

    How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

     

    TREND

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    2014

    July

    9

    91

     

    June

    10

    90

    May

    7

    93

    April

    7

    93

    March

    8

    92

    February

    8

    92

    January

    6

    94

    2013

    December

    5

    95

     

    November

    7

    93

    October

    4

    96

    September

    7

    93

    July

    9

    91

    June

    9

    91

    March

    6

    94

    2012

    December

    8

    92

    April

    11

    89

    March

    9

    91

    January

    6

    94

    2011

    December

    5

    95

     

    September

    6

    94

    July

    8

    92

    May

    13

    87

    January

    16

    84

    2010

    December

    11

    89

     

    June

    14

    86

    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.


    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 16 and 21, 2014 among 2,306 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 #75, July 29, 2014

    By Regina A. Corso, VP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations Research