Congressional Job Ratings Remain Extremely Low Little change in attitudes towards economy and household finances

NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Congressional retirements continue to be announced as many legislators are looking to spend more time with family, look for greener pastures and, for one, actually run for a lower office. One reason many of these retirements may be happening is that Congress is still mired in just single digit positive job ratings. Fewer than one in ten (8%) Americans give Congress positive marks while 92% give them negative ratings. This is slightly up from last month, when 6% gave them positive marks and 94% of U.S. adults gave them negative ratings. And, with just one-third of Americans (34%) saying things in the country are going in the right direction and 66% saying things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track, these retirees may see that the mood of the voting public is not ripe to just continue the status quo.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,266 adults surveyed online between February 12 and 17, 2014. (Full results, including data tables and complete historical trends, available here)

These retirements do mean that President Obama will have a number of new Representatives to work with during his last two years in office as he struggles to raise his own job ratings. This month, just over one third of U.S. adults (35%) give the President positive ratings on his overall job performance while 65% give him negative ratings. This is slightly up from last month when 32% of Americans gave the President positive marks and 68% gave him negative ratings. Looking at how partisans feel, it's definitely not surprising that more than nine in ten Republicans (94%) give the President negative ratings. However, seven in ten Independents (70%) and even more than one-third of Democrats (37%) also give President Obama negative marks on his overall job.

Economic attitudes

When it comes to his performance on the economy, President Obama has ratings that are slightly lower than his overall ratings. Three in ten Americans (31%) give the President positive ratings on the overall job he is doing on the economy while 69% give him negative marks. Like with the overall job ratings, these are also slightly up from last month when 28% gave him positive ratings and 72% of U.S. adults gave him negative marks.

Looking at attitudes on the overall economy, things are little changed from January. In the coming year, one-quarter of Americans (26%) expect the economy to improve, a little over two in five (43%) expect it to stay the same and one-third (32%) say it will get worse. Last month, 26% said the economy was going to improve, 44% believed it would stay the same and 30% believed it would get worse.

For household finances, one in five U.S. adults (22%) expect their household's financial condition to be better in the next 6 months, one-quarter (26%) expect it to be worse and half (52%) say it will remain the same. Last month, three in ten (29%) believed their household finances would be worse in the next six months, half (49%) thought it would remain the same, and 23% believed it would get better.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,266 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.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #18, February 24 2014

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

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

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SOURCE The Harris Poll


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