Over the past few months the air in Washington, D.C. has continued to grow heavy and oppressive, and this has had nothing to do with the weather. The partisan fighting is contentious and the intra-party fighting is not far behind in intensity. Americans are definitely taking notice of this, and the force of their displeasure is evident in how they feel about Congress, the political parties there, and some of the Congressional leaders.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,306 adults surveyed online between July 16 and 21, 2014. (Full findings, including data tables, available here)
When it comes to the overall job they are doing, just under one in ten Americans (9%) give Congress positive ratings while over nine in ten (91%) give them negative ratings. This is similar to last month, when nine in ten (90%) gave them negative ratings while one in ten (10%) gave them negative marks. These negative ratings are across the board. Almost three in five U.S. adults (58%) give Congress a rating of poor, the lowest in The Harris Poll‘s scale. Over half of both Republicans (54%) and Democrats (53%) give them a rating of poor, while two-thirds of Independents (66%) give Congress a poor rating.
The parties don’t fare much better. Just over one in ten Americans (14%) give Republicans in Congress a positive rating, while over half (54%) give them a negative rating. For Democrats in Congress, less than one in five (17%) give them a positive rating while over half (53%) give them a negative rating. For Democrats this is very similar to their ratings in January (16% positive/54% negative), while Republicans are actually up from where they were in January (9% positive/59% negative).
Looking at the two partisan leaders in the House of Representatives, more than half of Americans give both Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner (55%) and Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (52%) negative ratings for the jobs they are doing. Less than one in five give Minority Leader Pelosi (15%) positive ratings while just over one in ten (13%) give Speaker Boehner positive ratings. Three in ten Americans (30%) are not familiar enough with Leader Pelosi to have an opinion and almost one-third (32%) say the same about Speaker Boehner. Again, these are almost unchanged from January, when Speaker Boehner had positive ratings of 12% and negative ratings of 56%, and Leader Pelosi had positive marks of 17% and negative ratings of 55%.
Moving to the other chamber of Congress, the news isn’t much better for Senate leaders. Maybe one positive is that more than two in five Americans are not familiar enough to have an opinion of either Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (41%) or Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (50%). But two in five (40%) give Senator McConnell negative ratings while 45% give negative marks to the job Senator Reid is doing. Just one in ten Americans (10%) give Senator McConnell positive ratings and slightly more (14%) give Senator Reid positive ratings.
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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 16 and 21, 2014 among 2,306 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 Poll.
The Harris Poll® #75, July 29, 2014
By Regina A. Corso, VP, The Harris Poll and Public Relations Research
About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.