Less than 1 in 5 Americans Say Their Congressperson Deserves to be Re-Elected

NY06256LOGONEW YORK, Nov. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Another month and another round of headaches for the White House. They finally get through the government shutdown and now have to answer many questions about why the Affordable Care Act’s website was not ready for millions to sign up for health insurance. And, perhaps because of this, President Obama’s job ratings continue their downward movement. This month just one-third of Americans (32%) give the President positive ratings for the job he is doing, while 68% give him negative ratings. This is down from last month, when 35% gave the President positive marks and 65% gave him negative ones.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,250 adults surveyed online between November 13 and 18, 2013 byHarris Interactive. (Full results, including data tables, can be found here)

While it’s not surprising that just 4% of Republicans but 59% of Democrats give the President positive ratings on the overall job he is doing, what should have White House worried about legacies and Democrats worried about fallout for Congressional elections is that just 26% of Independents give President Obama positive ratings while three-quarters (74%) give him negative marks.

There are two things that could make the President a little happier. First, there is an uptick in perceived direction of the country as three in ten Americans (30%) believe it is going in the right direction, up from 20% last month; seven in ten (70%) believe things in the country have seriously gotten off on the wrong track.  The second is that when it comes to who deserves the most blame for shutting down the federal government, almost half (45%) of Americans blame Republicans in Congress compared to “just” one-third (32%) blaming President Obama; 7% blame Democrats in Congress, while 16% are not at all sure.

It’s one year until the Congressional elections

Congress still sees their approval in the single digits, with just 7% of Americans rating the job they are doing positively while 93% give them negative ratings. This is slightly better than last month when just 4% of Americans gave Congress positive ratings. But it’s not just the institution of Congress that is suffering. Just one in five Americans (19%) give their Member of the House of Representative positive ratings, while 71% give him or her negative ratings. And this is across political parties, as 70% of Republicans, 68% of Democrats and 75% of Independents give their Member negative marks for the overall job he or she is doing.

Even more ominous for sitting Members is that half of Americans (52%) say, when it comes to their Member of the House of Representatives, it’s time to give someone else a chance, compared to just 17% of Americans who believe their Congressperson deserves to be re-elected. What should give sitting Members some hope is that 31% are still not at all sure. Looking at this by party, 52% of Republicans, 47% of Democrats and 60% of Independents say it’s time to give someone else a chance.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between November 13 and 18, 2013 among 2,250 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.

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