Approval Ratings for Congress on Rise… Out of Single Digits

By Harris, Special for  USDR

Numbers seem fairly static on the surface, but in truth they can be quite subjective. For example, the number 11 might mark a triumph on the baseball field or a singularly unimpressive showing on the basketball court. Similarly, the 11% of Americans rating Congress positively on the overall job it’s doing (up from 9% last month) may seem like little cause for celebration. But it’s worth noting that it’s only the second time this year (the other being late January, when this rating stood at 10%) that it’s been in the double digits – and that the last time it was as high as 11% was in April… of  2012.

  • Democrats (15%) are roughly twice as likely as either Republicans (7%) or Independents (8%) to give Congress positive ratings.
  • Looking outside of political parties and more to underlying political philosophies, approval ratings for Congress are more consistent, with 11% each of Conservatives and Liberals approving of the job Congress is doing while 10% of Moderates indicate the same.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,273 adults surveyed online between July 15 and 20, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found  here.

Two in ten Americans (21%) give positive ratings specifically to the job their member of the House of Representatives is doing, down from roughly one fourth last  month.

President Obama’s  ratings
Positive ratings of President Obama’s overall job performance continue to hover around the four in ten mark (at 39%), between last month’s 38% and May’s 41%; though his current 39% positive rating is up compared to a year ago, when 34% gave the President positive job  ratings.

A similar 38% of U.S. adults rate President Obama positively on the job he’s doing handling the economy, up slightly from 36% last month but a hair’s breadth below the 39% seen the month before that. Similar to general job performance ratings, positive perceptions of President Obama’s work on the economy are up in comparison to July of last year (when 30% of Americans thought the President was doing a good job in this  area).

  • On both these measures, strong majorities of Democrats approve of his performance (71% overall, 68% for his performance on the economy) while two-thirds of Independents (67% for both measures) and more than nine in ten Republicans (94% overall, 92% economy)  disapprove.

Ratings for overall state of the country bounce back  some
Last month, the perception that the country was headed in the right direction was at its lowest point of 2015. For July this percentage has made something of a comeback, up from 30% in June to 34% for July but still well short of the 2015 peak of 44% seen in late January (just after the State of the Union  address).

July’s increase is driven in part by Democrats, with the perception among this group that things in the U.S. are headed in the right direction rising from 50% last month to 58% in July. Majorities of Republicans (87%) and Independents (71%), on the other hand, continue to believe things in this country have gotten off on the wrong  track.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between July 15 and 20, 2015 among 2,273 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, The Harris Poll 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 Poll 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 our 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 The Harris P oll.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.