Quantcast
Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Americans Have Negative Opinions of Many Political Leaders and Both Parties in Congress

November 15, 2011

NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — As President Obama struggles to raise his own job approval numbers, he is not alone in being in negative territory. With two exceptions, other leaders in Washington are also viewed more negatively than positively. One exception is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A majority of Americans (52%) give positive ratings to the overall job she is doing while three in ten (31%) give her negative marks. This is, however, lower than the last time this question was asked in May when three in five (61%) gave her positive marks and one-quarter (26%) gave her negative ratings.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO )

The other figure who is more positive than negative is Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. In his first showing on this survey since assuming office, more Americans give him positive ratings than negative (20% vs. 17%). But the larger issue is that almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) are not familiar enough with the Defense Secretary to have an opinion of the job he is doing.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

All other political figures, as well as the two parties in general in Congress, have negative ratings. Specifically:

  • Almost half of Americans (46%) give Vice President Joe Biden negative ratings while three in ten (30%) give him positive ratings and one-quarter (24%) are not familiar enough to have an opinion;
  • One-third of U.S. adults (32%) have a negative opinion of the job Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is doing, just one in ten (11%) have a positive opinion and over half (57%) are not familiar enough with him;
  • Looking at another economic figure, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, one-third of Americans (33%) have a negative opinion of the job he is doing, 19% give him positive marks and half (48%) are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion;
  • Two in five Americans (43%) give Speaker of the House John Boehner negative ratings, 17% give him positive marks and two in five (40%) are not familiar enough to have an opinion;
  • Looking at the two Democratic Congressional leaders, over half of Americans (54%) give House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi negative ratings, while 18% give her positive marks and 28% are not familiar with her. Two in five U.S. adults (42%) give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid negative ratings, 10% give him positive ratings and almost half (47%) are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion; and,
  • At the bottom of this group are the political parties in Congress. Over half of Americans have negative opinions of both Republicans in Congress (53%) and Democrats in Congress (54%).

So What?

Secretaries of State have always enjoyed some of the best ratings among all political leaders, regardless of party. This may be that since they are not involved in domestic issues, they are not blamed for dissatisfaction with things at home, including frustrations about the economy. The rest of these leaders are not as lucky and here is another possible indication that the election next fall may be one where the unhappiness with this larger group of people comes to the surface. The result could be an election where it’s not that one party or the other loses, but incumbents lose.


                                                                     TABLE 1
                              FAMILIARITY WITH SENIOR CABINET MEMBERS, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS
                             "Are you familiar enough with each of the following to have an opinion regarding them?"
    Base: All adults

                                                                                          FAMILIAR
                                                                                        2009                       2010           2011
                                              Mar   April   May   June    Aug    Sept   Dec    Jan    Mar   June   Oct  Jan  May  Oct
                                               %      %      %      %      %       %      %     %      %      %      %   %    %    %
    Secretary of State
     Hillary Clinton                            85     83     83     81     82      82    82     82     81     81    81   81   87   83
    Vice President Joe Biden                    70     67     69     68     71      70    72     67     72     71    72   71   78   76
    House Minority Leader
     Nancy Pelosi                               68     65     66     66     67      69    71     68     69     69    72   69   75   72
    Democrats in Congress                       66     64     64     65     68      69    67     71     68     68    67   66   66   67
    Republicans in Congress                     62     61     59     58     63      65    64     66     67     64    64   63   62   66
    House Speaker John
     Boehner                                    37   N/a      37   N/a      27    N/a   N/a    N/a    N/a    N/a     37   48   54   60
    Senate Majority Leader
     Harry Reid                                 32   N/a    N/a    N/a      39    N/a     44   N/a    N/a    N/a   N/a  N/a    53   53
    Federal Reserve Chairman
     Ben Bernanke                               42     43     43     41     44      48  N/a    N/a      49     45    48   45   51   52
    Treasury Secretary Tim
     Geithner                                   35     44     41     39     43      42    43     43     43     39    41   40   43   43
    Defense Secretary Leon
     Panetta                                  N/a    N/a    N/a    N/a    N/a     N/a   N/a    N/a    N/a    N/a   N/a  N/a  N/a    36
    ----------------------                    ---    ---    ---    ---    ---     ---   ---    ---    ---    ---   ---  ---  ---   ---

Note: N/a indicates not asked; In January 2011 Nancy Pelosi became House Minority Leader (from House Speaker) and John Boehner became House Speaker (from House Minority Leader).


                                         TABLE 2
                     RATINGS OF SENIOR CABINET MEMBERS, CONGRESSIONAL
                              LEADERS AND PARTIES IN CONGRESS
                     "How would you rate the overall job each of the
                                   following is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                             Positive*   Excellent  Pretty  Negative** Only  Poor     Not
                                                     Good              Fair        Familiar
                                 %           %         %         %       %     %       %
     Secretary
     of
     State
     Hillary
     Clinton                        52          16      36          31    19    12       17
     Defense
     Secretary
     Leon
     Panetta                        20           3      17          17    11     5       64
     Vice
     President
     Joe
     Biden                          30           5      25          46    22    24       24
     Federal
     Reserve
     Chairman
     Ben
     Bernanke                       19           3      16          33    17    16       48
     House
     Speaker
     John
     Boehner                        17           3      14          43    20    23       40
     Treasury
     Secretary
     Tim
     Geithner                       11           1      10          32    14    18       57
     House
     Minority
     Leader
     Nancy
     Pelosi                         18           3      14          54    19    35       28
     Senate
     Majority
     Leader
     Harry
     Reid                           10           2       8          42    15    27       47
     Republicans
     in
     Congress                       13           2      11          53    21    32       34
     Democrats
     in
     Congress                       12           2      11          54    23    31       33
     ---------                     ---         ---     ---         ---   ---   ---      ---

*Positive = excellent or pretty good **Negative = only fair or poor; In January 2011 Nancy Pelosi became House Minority Leader (from House Speaker) and John Boehner became House Speaker (from House Minority Leader).


                                TABLE 3
              RATING OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN - TREND
          How would you rate the job Vice-President Joe Biden
                               is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.         %          30          46            24
            May          %          35          43            22
            Jan.         %          33          39            29

    2010    Oct.         %          26          46            28
            June         %          26          45            29
            March        %          29          44            28
            Jan.         %          28          39            33

    2009    Dec.         %          30          42            28
            Sept.        %          30          41            30
            Aug.         %          33          38            29
            June         %          30          38            32
            May          %          32          36            31
            April        %          34          32            33
            March        %          35          35            30
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


                                TABLE 4
         RATING OF SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON - TREND
         How would you rate the job Secretary of State Hillary
                           Clinton is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.         %          52          31            17
            May          %          61          26            13
            Jan.         %          50          31            19

    2010    Oct.         %          48          32            19
            June         %          45          35            19
            March        %          48          33            19
            Jan.         %          49          33            18

    2009    Dec.         %          48          34            18
            Sept.        %          48          34            18
            Aug.         %          51          31            18
            June         %          47          34            19
            May          %          50          33            17
            April        %          51          32            17
            March        %          49          36            15
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


                               TABLE 5
           RATING OF DEFENSE SECRETARY LEON PANETTA - TREND
          How would you rate the job Defense Secretary Leon
                          Panetta is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                              Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.        %          20          17            64
    ----    ----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


                                TABLE 6
           RATING OF TREASURY SECRETARY TIM GEITHNER - TREND
           How would you rate the job Treasury Secretary Tim
                          Geithner is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.         %          11          32            57
            May          %          17          27            57
            Jan.         %          14          26            60

    2010    Oct.         %          12          29            59
            June         %          10          29            61
            March        %          13          30            57
            Jan.         %          14          29            57

    2009    Dec.         %          15          29            57
            Sept.        %          16          26            58
            Aug.         %          17          26            57
            June         %          15          24            61
            May          %          16          26            59
            April        %          18          26            56
            March        %          11          24            65
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


                                TABLE 7
         RATING OF HOUSE MINORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI - TREND
           How would you rate the job House Minority Leader
                        Nancy Pelosi is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.        %           18          54            28
            May         %           24          51            25
            Jan.        %           22          48            31

    2010    Oct.        %           19          52            28
            June        %           20          49            31
            March       %           16          52            31
            Jan.        %           18          50            32

    2009    Dec.        %           22          49            29
            Sept.       %           20          49            31
            Aug.        %           19          48            33
            June        %           18          49            34
            May         %           21          45            34
            April       %           21          44            35
            March       %           23          45            32
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding; until January 2011 Nancy Pelosi was House Speaker.


                                TABLE 8
             RATING OF HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER - TREND
         How would you rate the job House Speaker John Boehner
                               is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.         %          17          43            40
            May          %          22          32            46
            Jan.         %          22          27            52
    2010    Oct.         %          12          25            63
    ----
    2009    Aug.         %           8          19            73
            March        %           9          16            75
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding; Until January 2011 John Boehner was House Minority Leader.


                               TABLE 9
         RATING OF SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID - TREND
          How would you rate the job Senate Majority Leader
                         Harry Reid is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                              Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar

    2011     Oct.       %          10          42            47
             May        %          17          36            47

    2009     Dec.       %          11          33            56
             Aug.       %          10          29            61
             March      %          12          26            61
             -----    ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


                               TABLE 10
           RATING OF FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN BEN BERNANKE -
                                 TREND
          How would you rate the job Federal Reserve Chairman
                        Ben Bernanke is doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.        %           19          33            48
            May         %           22          29            49
            Jan.        %           20          25            55

    2010    Oct.        %           20          28            52
            June        %           17          29            55
            March       %           21          28            51

    2009    Sept.       %           25          23            52
            Aug.        %           20          24            56
            June        %           18          23            59
            May         %           19          24            57
            April       %           20          23            57
            March       %           14          28            58
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding


                               TABLE 11
                RATING OF DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS - TREND
         How would you rate the job the Democrats in Congress
                              are doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.         %          12          54            33
            May          %          18          48            34
            Jan.         %          19          47            34

    2010    Oct.         %          16          51            33
            June         %          14          54            32
            March        %          14          54            32
            Jan.         %          17          54            29

    2009    Dec.         %          18          50            33
            Sept.        %          18          51            31
            Aug.         %          21          47            32
            June         %          21          43            35
            May          %          25          39            36
            April        %          22          42            36
            March        %          25          41            34
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.


                               TABLE 12
               RATING OF REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS - TREND
             How would you rate the job the Republicans in
                          Congress are doing?"
    Base: All adults

                               Positive*  Negative**  Not Familiar
    2011    Oct.         %          13          53            34
            May          %          18          44            38
            Jan.         %          20          44            37

    2010    Oct.         %          14          51            36
            June         %          11          52            36
            March        %          16          51            33
            Jan.         %          16          50            34

    2009    Dec.         %          14          50            36
            Sept.        %          11          54            35
            Aug.         %          12          52            37
            June         %          12          46            42
            May          %          14          45            41
            April        %          14          48            39
            March        %          15          47            38
            -----      ---         ---         ---           ---

*Excellent or pretty good. **Only fair or poor. Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% because of rounding.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011 among 2,463 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.

J40806

Q1225, 1228

The Harris Poll(®) #118, November 15, 2011

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

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive


Source: PR Newswire