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There's A Lot of Status Quo in Attitudes Towards Washington

Only one in five Americans believe their Member of Congress deserves to be re-elected

NEW YORK,  March 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- There is the old saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same." And, in the world of Washington, D.C., that definitely seems to be the case. The President is on the road touting the last days to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. There is an actual consensus on something between Congressional leaders and the White House, in the belief that Russia may be overstepping their authority with regard to Ukraine and Crimea. Also, while Mother Nature hasn't quite caught up yet in a large part of the country, the calendar, at the very least, says that it is Spring, so that should be something to celebrate, right? Yet, what is staying the same is Americans' attitudes towards the President, Congress and the direction of the country.

Harris Poll Logo.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,234 adults surveyed online between March 12 and 17, 2014. (Full results, including data tables, available here)

So, just like in February, this month, just over one third of U.S. adults (35%) give the President positive ratings on his overall job performance while 65% give him negative ratings. Looking at how partisans feel, 4% of Republicans and 9% of Conservatives give the President positive ratings, as do 67% of both Democrats and Liberals. Among Independents, just over one-quarter (27%) give him positive marks while over one-third of Moderates (37%) give President Obama positive ratings.

Perceptions of Congress also haven't changed, as more than nine in ten Americans (92%) give them negative ratings again this month while 8% give them positive ratings. While Republicans and Independents are in the low single digits for their positive ratings (4% and 5% respectively), it's interesting that more than one in ten Democrats (12%) give Congress positive ratings.

And, consistent with last month, one-third of Americans (34%) say things in the country are going in the right direction while two-thirds (66%) say things have gotten off on the wrong track. When asked what the two most important issues for the government to address are, 29% of Americans each say Healthcare (not Medicare), including Obamacare/ACA – which is down from 42% who said this in December – and Employment/Jobs, which is up from 27% who said this in December. Rounding out the top five most important issues to address are the economy (non-specific) at 25% (up from 24% in December), budget deficit/national debt (13%, down from 16%), and budget/government spending (9%, down from 14%).

Individual Members of the House

Looking at the overall job that their Member of the House of Representatives is doing, one in five Americans (21%) give them a positive rating while 68% give them a negative one and 11% say they aren't familiar enough with their Member to rate them. In January, 20% gave their Member positive ratings while 68% gave them negative marks, so these figures are almost unchanged.

Looking at the upcoming election, half of U.S. adults (51%) say, in thinking about their Member of Congress, that it's time to give someone else a chance and one in five (20%) believe their Congressperson deserves to be re-elected; three in ten (29%) are not at all sure. This is also not much changed from January, when 52% said it was time to give someone else a chance and 20% believed their Congressperson deserved to be re-elected.

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Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,234 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.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #27, March 24, 2014
By Regina A. Corso, SVP, 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.

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SOURCE The Harris Poll

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