President Obama’s Approval Ratings Almost Unchanged Post-Election

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – November 23, 2010 – With the Congressional elections in his rear view mirror, President Obama looks ahead to working with a Republican House of Representatives with a positive job approval rating of 38% and a negative rating of 62%. This is not much different than where his ratings stood right before the election when 37% of Americans gave him positive ratings and 63% gave him negative marks for overall job he was doing.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,151 adults surveyed online between November 8 and 15, 2010.

    It is not surprising that over nine in ten Republicans (93%) and 88% of Conservatives give the President negative ratings. But one-third of Democrats (33%) and three in ten Liberals (30%) also give him negative marks for his job performance. Among Independents, almost two-thirds (64%) give President Obama negative ratings as do six in ten (59%) Moderates.

    Education and region show some differences in the President’s approval rating. Those in the East are more likely than those in the South to give President Obama positive ratings (44% vs. 33%). Also, those with higher education are more likely to give the President positive marks on the overall job he is doing. Just three in ten Americans with a high school degree or less (30%) give the President positive marks, but that rises to 40% of those with some college education, 45% of those with a college degree and 56% of those with a post graduate degree.

    Congress’ approval ratings

    While there may have been a change in control of Congress, there has not been much of a change in attitude towards them. Just over one in ten Americans (13%) give Congress positive marks for the overall job they are doing while 87% give them negative marks. Before the election, 11% gave them positive marks while 89% gave them negative ratings.

    Direction of country and most important issue

    When it comes to how things in the country are going, one-third of Americans (33%) say things are going in the right direction while two-thirds (67%) say they are going off on the wrong track. Again, this is not much changed from last month when 34% of U.S. adults said things were going in the right direction and 66% said they were going off on the wrong track.

    One reason for the negativity may be that the same two items again top the list of the two most important issues for the government to address. Over one-third of Americans (36%) say government should address employment/jobs while one-third (33%) say they should address the economy. Three in ten (30%) say the most important issue is healthcare, while 10% say it is budget and government spending. Just under one in ten say the government needs to address immigration (8%) and the deficit/national debt (8%).

    So What?

    The 2010 Congressional elections proved to be historic and game changing. In January, a new Congress will be sworn in with record numbers of freshmen. But, for the American public this is still the same old, same old. This new Congress comes in with a mandate of sorts, and the voters will be watching closely to make sure attention is paid to the issues of importance to them – the economy and jobs. Until those two issues are seen as moving in a positive direction, the angry voters will continue to be angry.

     

    TABLE 1

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND

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

    Base: All adults

    2009

    Mar

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    55

    58

    59

    54

    51

    49

    45

    43

    41

    Excellent

    17

    18

    17

    14

    11

    11

    10

    9

    7

    Pretty good

    38

    40

    42

    39

    39

    38

    35

    33

    33

    NEGATIVE

    45

    42

    41

    46

    49

    51

    55

    57

    59

    Only fair

    27

    26

    25

    25

    25

    25

    27

    29

    30

    Poor

    18

    15

    16

    21

    24

    26

    28

    29

    30

    2010

    Jan

    Mar

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    40

    41

    41

    42

    39

    40

    38

    37

    38

    Excellent

    9

    9

    9

    10

    6

    9

    9

    8

    8

    Pretty good

    31

    32

    31

    32

    33

    31

    29

    29

    30

    NEGATIVE

    60

    59

    59

    58

    61

    60

    62

    63

    62

    Only fair

    30

    28

    26

    28

    29

    26

    28

    30

    29

    Poor

    30

    31

    33

    30

    32

    34

    34

    33

    33

    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

    36

    12

    41

    70

    Excellent

    8

    1

    19

    3

    3

    8

    17

    Pretty good

    30

    6

    48

    32

    9

    33

    53

    NEGATIVE

    62

    93

    33

    64

    88

    59

    30

    Only fair

    29

    25

    27

    32

    21

    37

    22

    Poor

    33

    68

    6

    32

    67

    22

    7

    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

    44

    39

    33

    39

    30

    40

    45

    56

    35

    41

    Excellent

    8

    9

    7

    8

    9

    7

    5

    11

    19

    8

    9

    Pretty good

    30

    35

    32

    25

    30

    23

    35

    33

    37

    28

    32

    NEGATIVE

    62

    56

    61

    67

    61

    70

    60

    55

    44

    65

    59

    Only fair

    29

    30

    28

    27

    31

    35

    25

    24

    22

    27

    31

    Poor

    33

    26

    33

    40

    29

    35

    35

    31

    22

    38

    28

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

     

    TABLE 4

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING

    How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Political Party

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    13

    5

    23

    8

    Excellent

    1

    *

    3

    *

    Pretty good

    12

    4

    21

    8

    NEGATIVE

    87

    95

    77

    92

    Only fair

    39

    27

    49

    39

    Poor

    48

    69

    28

    53

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; *Indicates less than .05%


    TABLE 5

    CONGRESS’ OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

    How would you rate the overall job the Congress is doing?

    Base: All adults

    TREND

    Positive

    Negative

    %

    %

    2010

    November

    13

    87

    October

    11

    89

    September

    13

    87

    August

    15

    85

    June

    14

    86

    May

    15

    85

    April

    16

    84

    March

    10

    90

    Jan.

    16

    84

    2009

    Dec.

    17

    83

    Oct.

    16

    84

    Sept.

    19

    81

    Aug.

    22

    78

    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.

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


    TABLE 6

    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

    November

    33

    67

    October

    34

    66

    September

    36

    64

    August

    35

    65

    June

    34

    66

    April

    39

    61

    March

    33

    67

    2009

    December

    37

    63

    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

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

     

    TABLE 7

    MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE

    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

    10

    May

    Jan

    Feb

    Aug

    Dec

    Dec

    June

    Oct

    Aug

    June

    Oct

    Oct

    Mar

    Nov

    Jan

    Apr

    June

    Sept

    Nov

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Employment/jobs

    5

    3

    4

    4

    7

    8

    8

    10

    3

    7

    5

    5

    21

    24

    31

    34

    28

    37

    36

    The economy (non-specific)

    8

    9

    7

    5

    32

    34

    25

    28

    19

    14

    13

    64

    50

    34

    32

    27

    28

    34

    33

    Healthcare (not Medicare)

    10

    11

    12

    15

    5

    10

    14

    18

    11

    12

    25

    22

    25

    47

    45

    34

    23

    24

    30

    Budget/Government spending

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    5

    6

    2

    6

    11

    7

    9

    10

    11

    10

    Immigration

    2

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    2

    2

    3

    20

    12

    3

    4

    5

    5

    7

    12

    10

    8

    Budget deficit/National debt

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    3

    X

    X

    8

    8

    6

    8

    Taxes

    14

    16

    12

    13

    6

    5

    11

    8

    5

    4

    3

    6

    4

    4

    4

    7

    4

    7

    7

    Education

    15

    14

    21

    25

    12

    11

    13

    7

    8

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    5

    6

    6

    6

    6

    Social security

    6

    6

    24

    16

    3

    2

    4

    4

    10

    5

    3

    3

    1

    2

    1

    2

    2

    2

    4

    (The) war

    X

    X

    X

    X

    12

    18

    8

    35

    41

    27

    24

    14

    9

    9

    2

    6

    6

    4

    4

    Environment

    3

    2

    3

    3

    1

    3

    2

    1

    3

    3

    3

    2

    3

    4

    3

    3

    7

    3

    2

    (Programs for) the poor/ poverty

    3

    2

    2

    3

    1

    2

    3

    *

    4

    4

    4

    *

    1

    2

    2

    1

    1

    2

    2

    Downsizing government

    X

    X

    X

    1

     

    X

    X

    1

    *

    1

    1

    *

    1

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    2

    Terrorism

    X

    X

    X

    X

    22

    17

    11

    7

    7

    4

    4

    3

    4

    3

    6

    2

    3

    2

    2

    Foreign policy (non-specific)

    3

    5

    4

    3

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    2

    4

    2

    3

    2

    2

    2

    2

    2

    2

    Medicare

    4

    5

    5

    6

    1

    1

    4

    3

    2

    1

    3

    2

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    *

    2

    Housing

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    *

    *

    1

    2

    2

    6

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    Regulating banking/financial services

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    *

    8

    1

    3

    4

    2

    2

    1

    Ethics in government

     

     

     

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    2

    1

    National security

    X

    X

    2

    2

    6

    3

    6

    5

    2

    2

    2

    5

    2

    1

    4

    3

    2

    2

    1

    Business accountability/bailouts

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

    1

    Energy

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    4

    4

    1

    4

    3

    1

    1

    2

    5

    1

    1

    Obama/president

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    *

    *

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Welfare

    14

    8

    4

    2

    1

    1

    3

     

    3

    1

    2

    *

    *

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Military/defense

    2

    2

    2

    4

    4

    1

    5

    3

    1

    4

    2

    2

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    Human/civil/women’s rights

    2

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    2

    *

    *

    1

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    Religion (decline of)

    *

    1

    *

    1

    2

    1

    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

    1

    Gas and oil prices

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    10

    8

    2

    1

    1

    1

    *

    1

    *

    1

    1

    Same sex rights

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    1

    2

    *

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    *

    *

    1

    Iraq

    *

    *

    1

    X

    X

    11

    3

    9

    6

    8

    14

    7

    2

    4

    2

    2

    2

    *

     

    1

    Inflation

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    1

    2

    3

    *

    1

    1

    *

    *

    *

    *

    1

    Crime/violence

    19

    13

    8

    10

    1

    2

    3

    1

    3

    2

    2

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    *

    1

    *

    Afghanistan

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

    *

    Judicial/Legal Issues

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    *

    2

    1

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    *

    *

    Homelessness

    4

    4

    3

    3

    2

    2

    1

    *

    1

    1

    3

    *

    *

    1

    1

    *

    *

    1

    *

    Honesty/Integrity/Moral Values

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    2

    2

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    *

    1

    1

    1

    *

    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

    *

    *

    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

    x

    Other1

    8

    19

    2

    19

    3

    8

    8

    8

    1

    6

    5

    15

    5

    3

    1

    3

    2

    5

    6

    Not sure/refused/no issue

    9

    12

    16

    18

    11

    10

    12

    9

    8

    6

    8

    4

    4

    3

    2

    2

    4

    1

    2

    *= 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 November 8 to 15, 2010 among 2,151 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.

    J39117

    Q1205, 1208, 1210, 1215

    The Harris Poll® #145, November 23, 2010

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