In Spite GOP Comedy of Errors, Obama is in Serious Trouble

By Harris Interactive, Special for US Daily Review.

As the calendar moved into a new year, it also moved into an election year and President Obama is starting this year exactly as he ended the last one in terms of his approval ratings. This month, just like in December, just over one-third of Americans (36%) give the President positive ratings for the overall job he is doing and slightly less than two-thirds (64%) give him negative marks. Looking at the possible swing states for the general election (Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohioand Virginia) two-thirds of Americans in these nine states (65%) give the President negative ratings while one-third (35%) give him positive marks. One thing to note is that this survey was conducted prior to the President giving his State of the Union address.

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.

Not surprisingly, just 6% of Republicans and 12% of Conservatives give President Obama positive ratings. Among Independents almost seven in ten (69%) give him negative ratings as do 58% of Moderates. Among the President’s party, while two-thirds of Democrats (66%) give President Obama positive ratings, one-third (34%) give him negative ratings. Among liberals there is a wider gap as 60% give the President positive marks and 40% give him negative ratings.

Vice President Joe Biden fares a little worse. Just one in five Americans (22%) give the Vice President positive ratings for the job he is doing while almost half (45%) give him negative ratings. But, one-third (33%) say they are not familiar enough with him to rate his job performance.

Direction of the Country and Most Important Issue
One thing that continued to rise over the past few months is the direction Americans think the country is going. This month over one-quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say things are going in the right direction while just under three-quarters (73%) say things are going off on the wrong track. In December, one-quarter of Americans (24%) said things in the country were going in the right direction while three-quarters (76%) said things were going off on the wrong track.

One thing that probably won’t change for a while is what Americans think is the most important issue for the government to address. More than two in five U.S. adults (42%) say the government should address employment/jobs while three in ten (31%) say one of the two most important issues for the government to address is the economy. One in five (21%) say the government should address healthcare, not Medicare while 12% say they should address the budget and government spending and 10% say taxes.

President Obama’s re-election chances
The focus for the past few months has been on the Republicans as they decide which of the four remaining candidates will challenge President Obama this fall. But, looking at the President’s re-election chances, if the election for president were to be held today, over half of Americans (52%) would be unlikely to vote to re-elect President Obama, two in five (41%) would be likely to vote for him and 7% are not at all sure. This is very similar to last month when 51% said they would be unlikely to vote to re-elect the President and 42% said they would be likely to do so. Looking at this by party, nine in ten Republicans (91%) and over half of Independents (52%) would be unlikely to vote for him as would 20% of Democrats.  Also, in the likely 2012 swing states, 53% say they would be unlikely to vote for the President while 40% say they would be likely to vote for him.

When it comes to what Americans think will happen on Election Day, over one-third (36%) think President Obama will be re-elected while 41% think he will not be re-elected; one in five (22%) are not at all sure. Last month, 44% did not think he would be re-elected while just over one-third (35%) thought he would be re-elected.

So What?
Jobs and the economy are still the main issues that Americans want to see addressed. In his State of the Union address, the President definitely offered up his plans for help to grow the economy and to get more people back to work. But, two questions that remain are if they will actually work and will people believe in them. If so, this should give President Obama’s re-election the shot it desperately needs right now. If it doesn’t, this will be a long election year. 

TABLE 1
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING – TREND
“How would you rate the overall job President Barack Obama is doing?”

Base: All adults

TREND Positive* Negative**
% %
2012 January 36 64
2011 December 36 64
November 34 66
October 33 67
September 32 68
August 32 68
July 38 62
June 38 62
May 19th 45 55
May 9th 46 54
April 38 62
March 39 61
Feb. 42 58
Jan. 44 56
2010 Dec. 36 64
Nov. 38 62
Oct. 37 63
Sept. 38 62
Aug. 40 60
June 39 61
May 42 58
April 41 59
March 41 59
Jan. 40 60
2009 Dec. 41 59
Nov. 43 57
Oct. 45 55
Sept. 49 51
Aug. 51 49
June 54 46
May 59 41
April 58 42
March 55 45

*Positive = excellent or pretty good.  **Negative = only fair or poor.

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 Ideology 2012 SwingStates
Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib.
% % % % % % % %
POSITIVE 36 6 66 31 12 42 60 35
    Excellent 6 1 12 3 1 6 12 9
    Pretty good 30 5 54 29 11 36 48 26
NEGATIVE 64 94 34 69 88 58 40 65
    Only fair 30 26 24 37 23 36 25 33
    Poor 34 68 9 32 65 22 16 33

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada,New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

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
2012 Jan. % 22 45 33
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
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
% %
2012 January 27 73
2011 December 24 76
November 20 80
October 20 80
August 16 84
July 25 75
May 39 61
January 37 63
2010 December 29 71
April 39 61
2009 August 46 54
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

TABLE 5
VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA
“If the election for president were to be held today, how likely would you be to vote for the current president, Barack Obama?”

Base: All adults

2011 2012
May 9 May 19 June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan.
% % % % % % % % % %
Likely 46 43 41 42 37 39 40 40 42 41
   Very likely 33 32 30 30 27 26 26 30 29 30
   Somewhat likely 14 11 11 12 10 13 13 10 13 11
Unlikely 47 49 52 52 55 53 54 53 51 52
  Somewhat unlikely 7 8 7 8 7 7 8 6 8 7
  Very unlikely 40 41 45 44 48 47 46 47 43 45
Not at all sure 6 8 6 6 7 8 6 7 7 7

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

TABLE 6
VOTING FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA – BY POLITICAL PARTY
“If the election for president were to be held today, how likely would you be to vote for the current president, Barack Obama?”

Base: All adults

Total Political Party Political Ideology 2012 Swing States
Rep. Dem. Ind. Cons. Mod. Lib.
% % % % % % % %
Likely 41 6 74 41 14 48 66 40
   Very likely 30 3 58 27 10 33 55 30
   Somewhat likely 11 3 15 14 4 15 11 10
Unlikely 52 91 20 52 80 45 26 53
  Somewhat unlikely 7 7 5 9 5 9 5 7
  Very unlikely 45 84 15 43 74 36 21 46
Not at all sure 7 3 6 7 6 7 8 7

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; 2012 Swing States are Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Nevada,New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia

TABLE 7
LIKELIHOOD OF OBAMA’S RE-ELECTION
“If you had to say now, do you think that President Obama will be re-elected, or not?”

Base: All adults

2011 2012 Political Party
July Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. Jan.
Rep. Dem. Ind.
% % % % % % % % %
I think he will be re-elected. 35 30 30 32 35 36 10 61 34
I do not think he will be re-elected. 42 47 49 46 44 41 75 20 44
Not at all sure. 23 23 21 23 20 22 15 19 23

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

TABLE 8
MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE
“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 10 10 ’11 ’11 ’11 12
May Jan Feb Aug Dec Dec June Oct Aug June Oct Oct Mar Nov Jan Nov Jan May Sept Jan
% % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %
Employment/jobs 5 3 4 4 7 8 8 10 3 7 5 5 21 24 31 36 33 33 50 42
The economy (non-specific) 8 9 7 5 32 34 25 28 19 14 13 64 50 34 32 33 24 29 27 31
Healthcare (not Medicare) 10 11 12 15 5 10 14 18 11 12 25 22 25 47 45 30 35 18 17 21
Budget deficit/National debt X X X X X X X X X X X X 3 X X 8 12 17 13 12
Taxes 14 16 12 13 6 5 11 8 5 4 3 6 4 4 4 7 6 4 7 10
Budget/Government spending X X X X X X X X X 5 6 2 6 11 7 10 13 9 11 9
Education 15 14 21 25 12 11 13 7 8 7 6 6 5 5 5 6 7 7 5 8
Immigration 2 1 * 1 1 1 2 2 3 20 12 3 4 5 5 8 8 10 6 6
Downsizing government X X X 1 * X X 1 * 1 1 * 1 2 2 2 2 1 2 4
Environment 3 2 3 3 1 3 2 1 3 3 3 2 3 4 3 2 2 2 3 3
Foreign policy (non-specific) 3 5 4 3 2 4 2 3 2 2 4 2 3 2 2 2 1 1 3 3
Social security 6 6 24 16 3 2 4 4 10 5 3 3 1 2 1 4 3 3 7 3
Human/civil/women’s rights 2 1 * 1 1 1 * 1 1 1 2 * * 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
Wars/Armed conflicts X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 6 3 2
Military/defense 2 2 2 4 4 1 5 3 1 4 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
(Programs for) the poor/ poverty 3 2 2 3 1 2 3 * 4 4 4 * 1 2 2 2 3 2 2 2
National security X X 2 2 6 3 6 5 2 2 2 5 2 1 4 1 1 1 1 2
Housing X X X X X 1 1 * * 1 2 2 6 1 1 1 2 1 2 2
Terrorism X X X X 22 17 11 7 7 4 4 3 4 3 6 2 2 4 1 2
Gas and oil prices X X X X X X 1 1 10 8 2 1 1 1 * 1 1 12 2 2
Abortion 2 2 2 6 1 1 1 4 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 * * * * 1
Bipartisanship X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 1 1 2 1
Obama/president X X X X X X X X X X 1 * * 1 1 1 * 1 1 1
Ethics in government * * * * 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 * 1 1
Homelessness 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 * 1 1 3 * * 1 1 * 1 * * 1
Business accountability/bailouts X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 1 1 * * 1
Homeland/domestic security/public safety X X X X 8 9 3 6 2 2 2 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Medicare 4 5 5 6 1 1 4 3 2 1 3 2 * * * 2 1 2 1 1
Welfare 14 8 4 2 1 1 3 * 3 1 2 * * 1 * 1 1 * 1 1
Inflation X X X X X X X X 1 2 3 * 1 1 * 1 1 1 1 1
Energy X X X X X X 1 1 4 4 1 4 3 1 1 1 1 2 1 1
(The) war X X X X 12 18 8 35 41 27 24 14 9 9 2 4 3 * 1 *
Infrastructure X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X * 1 1 *
Afghanistan X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X * 1 * * *
Religion (decline of) * 1 * 1 2 1 1 1 * 1 1 * * * * 1 * * * *
Same sex rights X X X X X X X 1 1 2 * * 1 1 1 1 * * * *
Iraq * * 1 X X 11 3 9 6 8 14 7 2 4 2 1 * * * *
Judicial/Legal Issues X X X X X X X * 2 1 1 * 1 1 1 * * * x *
Programs for the elderly (not Medicare/Social Security) 1 1 1 2 1 1 3 * * * 1 1 * * * * * * * *
Crime/violence 19 13 8 10 1 2 3 1 3 2 2 1 * 1 1 * 1 1 * X
Income gap/Wealth distribution/Middle class X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 1 1 x X
Overspending/wasting money X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X 2 x X
Other 8 19 2 19 3 8 8 8 1 6 5 15 5 3 1 6 5 3 6 7
Not sure/refused/no issue 9 12 16 18 11 10 12 9 8 6 8 4 4 3 2 2 4 4 3 3

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

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

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.

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

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