Congress Is Probably Asking for Better Job Ratings for the Holidays

Just 5% of Americans give them positive ratings

Dec 19, 2013, 10:00 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- T'was a week before Christmas and all through D.C., no politicians were stirring, having survived the past year. To their districts they flew, 'cross the congressional map, while President Obama settled down for a long winter's nap (before he heads to Hawaii). And, for all the politicians, the year comes to a close with low job ratings and a hope for a better year.


For the President, this month again just one-third of Americans (34%) give him positive ratings for the job he is doing, while 66% give him negative ratings. This is slightly improved from last month, when 32% gave the President positive marks and 66% gave him negative ones. It's worse still when it comes to his handling of the economy, as three in ten (29%) give him positive ratings on it while 71% give him negative ratings, similar to last month when 30% gave him positive ratings and 70% gave him negative marks.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,311 adults surveyed online between December 11 and 17, 2013 by Harris Interactive. (Full results, including data tables, available here)

It may not be visions of sugar plums in the President's head, but rather visions of his legacy. And, while he's probably not surprised that only 8% of Republicans give him positive ratings and that 63% of Democrats positively rate the overall job he's doing, the problem is with Independents. Among this group just 24% give President Obama positive ratings, while three-quarters (76%) give him negative marks.  

And arose such a clatter on Capitol Hill

When President Obama flies to his window in a flash, the sight that awaits his wondering eyes is the dome of Congress – a legislative body very few Americans would give much more than coal. Only 5% of U.S. adults rate the job they are doing positively, while 95% give them negative ratings. This is slightly worse than last month, when 7% of Americans gave Congress positive ratings. And, it's not just the whole legislative body that is on Santa's naughty list. Only one in five Americans (20%) give their Member of the House of Representative positive ratings, while 69% give him or her negative ratings.

On Dasher and Dancer and Health Care?

When it comes to issues that Americans want addressed, more parking spots at the mall may be high on the list – but when it comes to what the government should address, healthcare (not Medicare), including Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, is one of the most important issues for over two in five (42%) of Americans. This is followed by employment/jobs (27%), the economy (24%), the deficit and national debt (16%), and the budget and government spending (14%).

Looking at the direction of the country overall, one-third (33%) of Americans believe the country is going in the right direction while 67% believe things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track. This is slightly up from last month, when three in ten (30%) said things were going in the right direction.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 11 and 17, 2013 among 2,311 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.

Q1205, 1210, 1215, 1217, 705

The Harris Poll® #99, December 19, 2013
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll and Public Relations, Harris Interactive

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SOURCE Harris Interactive