President Obama at Lowest Job Performance Ratings Since Taking Office

39% of Americans give him positive ratings; 34% think country heading in right direction

Jun 25, 2010, 05:05 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, June 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As most Americans think about summer vacations, barbecues and the beach, President Obama has other things on his mind, including the oil spill in the Gulf, a shift of military leaders in Afghanistan, the economic summit in Canada and, as since taking office, jobs and the economy. And perhaps, because of all this, the President is now at his worst job ratings with only 39% of Americans giving him positive ratings on the overall job he is doing and 61% giving him negative marks. This is down from May when 42% gave him positive ratings and 58% negative ones.

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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.

One problem for President Obama is that he is losing support from his base.  Three in ten Democrats (29%) and Liberals (30%) give him negative ratings for the overall job he is doing. While it is not surprising that large numbers of Republicans (92%) and Conservatives (86%) give him negative ratings, two-thirds of Independents (68%) and almost three in five Moderates (58%) do so, as well.

There are also regional differences in how Americans view President Obama's job performance. Those in the East and West are more likely to give him positive ratings (43% and 41% respectively) while those in the South are more likely to give the president negative ratings (65%).  The more education one has, the more likely they are to think President Obama is doing a good job. Just three in ten of those with a high school degree or less (31%) give the president positive ratings compared to 47% of college graduates and over half of those with a post-graduate education (53%).

Going hand in hand with the president's job numbers is how people think the country overall is doing. Just one-third of Americans (34%) believe the country is heading in the right direction while 66% say it is going off on the wrong track. This is down from last month when 36% said the country was heading in the right direction and 64% believed it was off on the right track.

In looking at the most important issues for the government to address, it is not surprising that economic issues rise to the top as almost three in ten Americans each say the most important issue for the government to address is the economy (28%) and employment/jobs (28%). Even though a reform bill has been signed into law, almost one-quarter (23%) say health care should be addressed. And, new to the list one in five Americans (20%) say the oil spill in the Gulf needs to be addressed.

So What?

It is a tough situation for any president to deal with, when faced with so many competing problems and being pulled in so many directions at once. For this president, one of the issues is that even when it appears he has a win, such as with health care reform, the battle was so costly that the win falls hollow. Now he and the White House are faced with congressional elections in just a few months, an angry electorate, and dwindling support among his own partisans. If the summer does not go well for President Obama and this continues to trickle down to Democrats across the country, there very well may be a new party in control of Congress in January.

TABLE 1

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S JOB RATING - TREND

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

Base: All adults


2009

2010


Mar

April

May

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Mar

April

May

June


%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

POSITIVE

55

58

59

54

51

49

45

43

41

40

41

41

42

39

  Excellent

17

18

17

14

11

11

10

9

7

9

9

9

10

6

  Pretty good

38

40

42

39

39

38

35

33

33

31

32

31

32

33

NEGATIVE

45

42

41

46

49

51

55

57

59

60

59

59

58

61

  Only fair

27

26

25

25

25

25

27

29

30

30

28

26

28

29

  Poor

18

15

16

21

24

26

28

29

30

30

31

33

30

32

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

39

8

71

32

14

42

70

   Excellent

6

1

12

4

5

4

12

   Pretty good

33

7

58

29

9

38

58

NEGATIVE

61

92

29

68

86

58

30

   Only fair

29

27

24

34

24

35

25

   Poor

32

64

6

34

62

23

6

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



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

39

43

39

35

41

31

41

47

53

36

42

   Excellent

6

6

4

7

7

6

5

6

10

5

7

   Pretty good

33

37

35

29

34

25

35

41

43

31

35

NEGATIVE

61

57

61

65

59

69

59

53

47

64

58

   Only fair

29

32

32

28

27

32

29

27

24

28

30

   Poor

32

25

29

37

32

38

30

26

23

36

28

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



TABLE 4

MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FOR GOVERNMENT to address

"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

09

09

10

10

10

May

Jan

Feb

Aug

Dec

Dec

June

Oct

Aug

June

Oct

Oct

Jan

Mar

Sept

Nov

Jan

Apr

June

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Employment/jobs

5

3

4

4

7

8

8

10

3

7

5

5

20

21

21

24

31

34

28

The economy (non-specific)

8

9

7

5

32

34

25

28

19

14

13

64

59

50

36

34

32

27

28

Healthcare (not Medicare)

10

11

12

15

5

10

14

18

11

12

25

22

16

25

55

47

45

34

23

Oil Spill in Gulf/BP oil spill

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

20

Immigration

2

1

*

1

1

1

2

2

3

20

12

3

2

4

8

5

5

7

12

Budget/Government spending

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

5

6

2

6

6

12

11

7

9

10

Budget deficit/National debt

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*

3

X

X

X

8

8

Environment

3

2

3

3

1

3

2

1

3

3

3

2

2

3

3

4

3

3

7

Education

15

14

21

25

12

11

13

7

8

7

6

6

5

5

7

5

5

6

6

(The) war

X

X

X

X

12

18

8

35

41

27

24

14

15

9

5

9

2

6

6

Energy

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

4

4

1

4

2

3

2

1

1

2

5

Taxes

14

16

12

13

6

5

11

8

5

4

3

6

5

4

5

4

4

7

4

Terrorism

X

X

X

X

22

17

11

7

7

4

4

3

2

4

2

3

6

2

3

Regulating banking/financial services industries

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*

1

8

2

1

3

4

2

National security

X

X

2

2

6

3

6

5

2

2

2

5

4

2

1

1

4

3

2

Downsizing government

X

X

X

1

*

X

X

1

*

1

1

*

1

1

2

2

2

3

2

Iraq

*

*

1

X

X

11

3

9

6

8

14

7

4

2

3

4

2

2

2

Foreign policy (non-specific)

3

5

4

3

2

4

2

3

2

2

4

2

3

3

1

2

2

2

2

Domestic/social issues (non-specific)

2

3

2

2

2

2

1

2

2

3

3

1

2

1

2

1

2

2

2

Social security

6

6

24

16

3

2

4

4

10

5

3

3

1

1

2

2

1

2

2

(Programs for) the poor/ poverty

3

2

2

3

1

2

3

*

4

4

4

*

1

1

1

2

2

1

1

Human/civil/women's rights

2

1

*

1

1

1

*

1

1

1

2

*

*

*

1

1

1

*

1

Religion (decline of)

*

1

*

1

2

1

1

1

*

1

1

*

1

*

*

*

*

1

1

Obama/president

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

*

*

*

1

1

1

1

1

Honesty/Integrity/Moral Values

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

2

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

*

1

1

Ethics in government

*

*

*

*

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

1

*

1

1

1

1

Welfare

14

8

4

2

1

1

3

*

3

1

2

*

1

*

1

1

*

1

1

Homeland/domestic security/public safety

X

X

X

X

8

9

3

6

2

2

2

1

1

2

3

1

1

1

1

Military/defense

2

2

2

4

4

1

5

3

1

4

2

2

2

2

2

1

1

1

1

Housing

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

*

*

1

2

2

3

6

1

1

1

1

1

Judicial/Legal Issues

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*

2

1

1

*

*

1

1

1

1

1

1

Same sex rights

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

2

*

*

*

1

1

1

1

1

*

Crime/violence

19

13

8

10

1

2

3

1

3

2

2

1

2

*

1

1

1

1

*

Gas and oil prices

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

1

10

8

2

1

2

1

1

1

*

1

*

Peace/world peace/nuclear arms

1

3

3

1

2

2

3

*

1

1

2

*

1

*

1

*

*

1

*

Drugs

8

6

2

5

2

3

3

*

2

1

3

*

1

1

*

*

*

1

*

Medicare

4

5

5

6

1

1

4

3

2

1

3

2

1

*

*

*

*

*

*

Middle East peace process between Palestinians and Israel

X

X

X

X

2

2

2

*

1

*

*

1

1

*

1

*

*

*

*

Homelessness

4

4

3

3

2

2

1

*

1

1

3

*

1

*

*

1

1

*

*

Socialism agenda/country's socialism

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

*

1

*

*

Inflation

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

1

2

3

*

1

1

*

1

*

*

*

Abortion

2

2

2

6

1

1

1

4

2

1

2

1

1

1

1

1

1

*

*

Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security)

1

1

1

2

1

1

3

*

*

*

1

1

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Second Amendment  (right to bear arms)

X

*

*

*

*

X

*

*

*

*

*

X

*

*

*

*

*

*

x

Family values (decline of)

2

1

2

1

*

*

1

1

1

1

1

*

*

*

*

X

*

*

x

Other(1)

8

19

2

19

3

8

8

8

1

6

5

15

2

5

1

3

1

3

2

Not sure/refused/no issue

9

12

16

18

11

10

12

9

8

6

8

4

4

4

3

3

2

2

4

* = Less than 0.5%, X = Not mentioned as specific issue

(1) Including prescription drug prices, credit problems, trade, disability, corporate scandals, youth and government (other)

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



TABLE 5

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

June

34

66


May

36

64

April

39

61

March

33

67

January

37

63

2009

December

37

63


August

46

54

June

43

57

March

32

68

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



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

Q1205, 1208, 1210

The Harris Poll® #81, June 25, 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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