Almost Nine in Ten Americans Give Congress Negative Ratings

Generic Ballot has Democrats ahead by four points

Jun 28, 2010, 05:05 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Normally in politics the one thing that can be counted on is that Republicans and Democrats will think differently about most issues. But, when it comes to how Congress is doing their job, it does not matter what party label someone has — they all give Congress negative ratings. More than four in five Americans (86%) give the overall job Congress is doing a negative rating while just 14% give it positive marks.

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Breaking this down by party, almost all Republicans (97%) give Congress negative marks, as do nine in ten Independents (90%). Also, even though Congress is under Democratic control, three-quarters of Democrats (75%) give the institution negative ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

The Tea Party

Tea Party support continues to hold steady with just under two in five Americans (37%) supporting the Tea Party Movement and three in ten (31%) opposing it. In May, 38% of Americans said they were Tea Party supporters while 30% were opposed to the movement.  Most of this support is coming from Republicans (69% support the movement) followed by Independents (43%), while over half of Democrats (56%) oppose it.

While over one-third of Americans may be supporters of the Tea Party movement, this does not mean they all consider themselves members of the Party. Just 8% actually would describe themselves as a member of the Tea Party while 77% would not. In May, 10% of Americans said they were Tea Party members.

The 2010 Congressional Election

Looking ahead to November, it is potentially a close race. If the election for Congress were being held today and only a Democrat and a Republican were running, just over one-third (34%) of U.S. adults would vote for the Democratic candidate while three in ten (30%) would vote for the Republican candidate. In May, 35% said they would vote for the Democrat and 28% would vote for the Republican, so this gap is narrowing.

However, it would be better news for the Democrats if a Tea Party candidate enters the race.  Just over one-third (34%) of Americans would still vote for the Democrat, but 18% would vote for the Republican candidate and 14% would for the Tea Party candidate.

So What?

While four months can be a lifetime in politics, the reality is it is just about 18 weeks until the elections in November. In that time, each party has to convince voters to vote for their candidate and not for the other one. But, in those 18 weeks, there are a lot of outside events that can occur which cannot be predicted. There is always that "October surprise" which can shift an election. The way this year is going do not be surprised if there are surprises in July, August and September, as well.

TABLE 1

CONGRESS' OVERALL JOB RATING

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

Base: All U.S. adults


Total

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

14

3

25

10

4

3

   Excellent

1

1

1

1

*

2

   Pretty good

13

3

24

9

4

1

NEGATIVE

86

97

75

90

96

97

   Only fair

38

26

51

33

22

19

   Poor

48

71

24

57

74

78

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * signifies less than 1%.




TABLE 2

CONGRESS' OVERALL JOB RATING – TREND

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

Base: All U.S. adults


TREND

Positive*

Negative**

%

%

2010

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 3

TEA PARTY FAMILIARITY

"How familiar are you with the Tea Party Movement?"

Base: All U.S. adults


March 2010

May

2010

June

2010

%

%

%

Familiar (NET)

76

85

86

    Very familiar

15

22

20

    Somewhat familiar

39

44

48

    Not that familiar

22

19

18

Not familiar (NET)

24

15

14

    Not at all familiar

16

10

11

    Never heard of

8

5

4

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



TABLE 4

TEA PARTY SUPPORT

"Do you support or oppose the Tea Party Movement?"

[Asked of all adults excluding those who are "not at all familiar" or "have never heard of" the Tea Party Movement]

Base: All U.S. adults


March 2010

May 2010

June

2010

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

%

Support (NET)

33

38

37

69

13

43

    Strongly support

14

18

16

34

1

17

    Somewhat support

19

20

22

35

11

26

Oppose (NET)

23

30

31

4

56

30

    Somewhat oppose

9

11

11

3

16

15

    Strongly oppose

14

19

19

1

40

15

Not at all sure

20

17

17

18

14

17

Not asked/Not familiar at all/ Never heard of

24

15

14

9

17

10

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



TABLE 5

TEA PARTY MEMBER

"Would you describe yourself as a member of the Tea Party?"

[Asked of all adults excluding those who are "not at all familiar" or "have never heard of" the Tea Party Movement]

Base: All U.S. adults


May

2010

June

2010

Political Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

%

%

%

%

%

Yes

10

8

18

*

10

No

75

77

73

82

80

Not asked/Not familiar at all/ Never heard of

15

14

9

17

10

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; * signifies less than 1%




TABLE 6

MIDTERM ELECTIONS – TWO-PARTY RACE

"If the election for Congress were being held today, would you vote for the Republican or the Democratic candidate?"

Base: All U.S. adults


May

2010

June

2010

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democratic candidate

35

34

4

77

20

9

11

Republican candidate

28

30

79

2

22

59

67

Other

10

9

4

2

19

11

8

Not at all sure

27

27

14

19

39

21

14

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




TABLE 7

MIDTERM ELECTIONS – THREE-PARTY RACE

"If the election for Congress were being held today and all three were an option, who would you vote for?"

Base: All U.S. adults


May

2010

June

2010

Political Party

Tea Party

Rep.

Dem.

Ind.

Supporter

Member

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Democratic candidate

35

34

3

75

20

7

7

Republican candidate

19

18

50

2

11

29

25

Tea Party candidate

12

14

23

2

20

35

47

Not at all sure

35

35

24

22

48

28

20

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




Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 14 to 21, 2010 among 2,227 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.

J38301

Q1215, 1230, 1235, 1240, 1245, 1250

The Harris Poll® #82, June 28, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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