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Generic Congressional Ballot Tied

January 31, 2012

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — While almost all the election related media attention has been on the Republicans battling for the chance to challenge President Obama in November, every seat in the House of Representatives is also up for election this November. And, if the election for Congress were being held today, among registered voters, it would be a tie with 38% voting for the Republican candidate and 38% voting for the Democratic candidate. Just under one in ten (8%) would vote for another party’s candidate and 16% are not sure who they would vote for.

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Almost nine in ten Republicans (88%) would vote for their candidate and four in five Democrats (81%) would vote for their candidate while Independents are a bit more divided as 28% would vote for the Democratic candidate, 26% for the Republican, 15% for another party’s candidate and three in ten (30%) are not sure.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,016 adults surveyed online between January 16 and 23, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

One issue that Members of Congress have is that the institution itself as well as the two major parties in Congress and the leaders are all looking at very low job approval ratings. Specifically:

  • When it comes to Congress itself, just 6% of Americans would rate the overall job they are doing positively while 94% would rate their job negatively. Last month 5% gave them positive ratings while 95% gave them negative ones;
  • Over two in five Americans (46%) give Speaker of the House John Boehner negative ratings, 11% give him positive marks and more than two in five (44%) are not familiar enough to have an opinion;
  • Looking at the two Democratic Congressional leaders, over half of Americans (53%) give House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi negative ratings, while 13% give her positive marks and 34% are not familiar with her. Two in five U.S. adults (42%) give Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid negative ratings, 8% give him positive ratings and half (50%) are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion; and,
  • Looking at the two political parties, over half of Americans have negative opinions of the job both Republicans in Congress (56%) and Democrats in Congress (53%) are doing. Just one in ten have a positive opinion of the job Republicans in Congress are doing (10%) and 13% have positive opinions of the job Democrats in Congress are doing. One-third of U.S. adults are not familiar enough with the job either party is doing (34% for both) to have an opinion regarding them.

So What?
With approval ratings at historic lows, Members of Congress have reason to be nervous about their chances for re-election. This may be why, so far, around 30 have decided to retire rather than run again. There also isn’t any one to rally around – President Obama’s ratings are also low and, with the bruising primary so far, it’s possible that whoever emerges as the Republican candidate will be damaged, so coattails from the presidential race may be short. Representatives have to hope that the old adage of “hate the Institution, but like my Member” holds true for November or it could be another watershed year with incumbents not able to win re-election.

                                  TABLE 1
                       GENERIC CONGRESSIONAL BALLOT
    "If the election for Congress were being held today, for whom would you most likely vote?"
    Base: All adults
    ----------------
                                         Total                Reg         Political Party
                                                             voters
                                                                                               ---
                Rep.                      Dem.                Ind.
                ----                      ----                ----
                  %                  %         %        %       %
                 ---                ---       ---      ---     ---
    Democratic candidate               37        38       3       81               28
    --------------------              ---       ---     ---      ---              ---
    Republican candidate               35        38      88        4               26
    --------------------              ---       ---     ---      ---              ---
    Other                               8         8       2        3               15
    -----                             ---       ---     ---      ---              ---
    Not sure                           20        16       7       11               30
    --------                          ---       ---     ---      ---              ---
    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding
    --------------------------------------------------------

                              TABLE 2
                    CONGRESS' OVERALL JOB RATING
      "How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?"
      -------------------------------------------------------
    Base: All adults
    ----------------
                                       Total        Political Party
                                       -----        ---------------
                Rep.                    Dem.              Ind.
                ----                    ----              ----
                 %                       %                 %           %
                ---                   ---              ---         ---
    POSITIVE                           6       5                7      5
    --------                         ---     ---              ---    ---
        Excellent                   *        *           *           *
        ---------                  ---      ---         ---         ---
        Pretty good                    5       5                6      5
        -----------                  ---     ---              ---    ---
    NEGATIVE                          94      95               93     95
    --------                         ---     ---              ---    ---
        Only fair                     34      41               34     27
        ---------                    ---     ---              ---    ---
        Poor                          60      54               60     67
        ----                         ---     ---              ---    ---
    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding
    --------------------------------------------------------

                                                     TABLE 3
                                      CONGRESS' OVERALL JOB RATING - TREND
                             "How would you rate the overall job Congress is doing?"
    Base: All adults
    ----------------
                                 TREND                     Positive*                 Negative**
                                 -----                      --------                  ---------
            %                      %
           ---                    ---
          2012                  January                                    6                     94
          ----                  -------                                  ---                    ---
          2011                  December                                   5                     95
          ----                  --------                                 ---                    ---
                                November                                   5                     95
                                --------                                 ---                    ---
         October                                5                         95
         -------                              ---                        ---
        September                               6                         94
        ---------                             ---                        ---
         August                                 5                         95
         ------                               ---                        ---
          July                                  8                         92
          ----                                ---                        ---
          June                                 11                         89
          ----                                ---                        ---
           May
           19th                                12                         88
           ----                               ---                        ---
           May
           9th                                 13                         87
           ---                                ---                        ---
          April                                 8                         92
          -----                               ---                        ---
          March                                10                         90
          -----                               ---                        ---
        February                               14                         86
        --------                              ---                        ---
         January                               16                         84
         -------                              ---                        ---
          2010                  December                                  11                     89
          ----                  --------                                 ---                    ---
                                November                                  13                     87
                                --------                                 ---                    ---
         October                               11                         89
         -------                              ---                        ---
        September                              13                         87
        ---------                             ---                        ---
         August                                15                         85
         ------                               ---                        ---
          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.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

                                                                      TABLE 4
                               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    2012
                 ----                 ----    ----    ----
                  Mar               April     May    June     Aug    Sept     Dec    Jan    Mar    June     Oct    Jan    May     Oct    Jan
                  ---               -----     ---    ----     ---    ----     ---    ---    ---    ----     ---    ---    ---     ---    ---
                   %                   %       %       %       %       %       %      %      %       %       %      %      %       %      %
                  ---                 ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---    ---    ---     ---     ---    ---    ---     ---    ---
    House Minority                      68      65      66      66      67      69     71     68      69      69     72     69      75     72      66
    Leader Nancy Pelosi
    -------------------                                                                                                                           ---
    Democrats in Congress               66      64      64      65      68      69     67     71      68      68     67     66      66     67      66
    ---------------------              ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---    ---    ---     ---     ---    ---    ---     ---    ---     ---
    Republicans in Congress             62      61      59      58      63      65     64     66      67      64     64     63      62     66      66
    -----------------------            ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---    ---    ---     ---     ---    ---    ---     ---    ---     ---
    House Speaker                       37    N/a       37    N/a       27    N/a    N/a    N/a     N/a     N/a      37     48      54     60      56
    John Boehner
    ------------
    Senate Majority                     32    N/a     N/a     N/a       39    N/a      44   N/a     N/a     N/a    N/a    N/a       53     53      50
    Leader Harry Reid
    -----------------
    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 5
                                                                 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
                                                                                      ---                                                 ---                                  ---          --------
                   %                            %                           %                        %                         %                       %                 %
                  ---                          ---                         ---                      ---                       ---                     ---               ---
    Democrats in Congress                                  13                           2                    11                            53                21                 32                        34
    ---------------------                                 ---                         ---                   ---                           ---               ---                ---                       ---
    House Minority Leader Nancy
     Pelosi                                                13                           2                    11                            53                17                 36                        34
    ---------------------------                           ---                         ---                   ---                           ---               ---                ---                       ---
    House Speaker John Boehner                             11                           1                    10                            46                20                 25                        44
    --------------------------                            ---                         ---                   ---                           ---               ---                ---                       ---
    Republicans in Congress                                10                           1                     9                            56                20                 36                        34
    -----------------------                               ---                         ---                   ---                           ---               ---                ---                       ---
    Senate Majority Leader Harry
     Reid                                                   8                           1                     7                            42                15                 27                        50
    ----------------------------                          ---                         ---                   ---                           ---               ---                ---                       ---
    *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 6
                    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
                           --------       ---------   ------------
    2012              Jan.                %                     11           46         44
    ----              ----                ---                  ---          ---        ---
    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 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
                           --------       ---------   ------------
    2012              Jan                      %                13           53         34
    ----              ---                     ---              ---          ---        ---
    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 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
                           --------               ---------         ------------
    2012              Jan.                     %               8            42         50
    ----              ----                    ---            ---           ---        ---
    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 9
                      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
                           --------       ---------   ------------
    2012              Jan.                     %                13           53         34
    ----              ----                    ---              ---          ---        ---
    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 10
                     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
                           --------       ---------   ------------
    2012              Jan.                     %                10           56         34
    ----              ----                    ---              ---          ---        ---
    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 January 16 and 23, 2012 among 2,016 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.

J41215
Q1215, 1225, 1228, 1260

The Harris Poll(®) #12, January 31, 2012
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


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