All presidents have to deal with the same issue – too many things on their desk at once. For President Obama that has been especially true since he took office between the economy, dealing with health care reform, and now the unrest in the Middle East. In looking at the his handling of some of these issues, the American public is not impressed. In fact, majorities give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of 5 of 6 different issues.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,171 adults surveyed online between February 14 and 21, 2011 by Harris Interactive.
- Two-thirds of Americans (66%) give the president negative ratings on his handling of jobs while three in ten (29%) give him positive marks on this;
- Looking at the economy overall, over three in five U.S. adults (62%) give President Obama negative ratings while one-third (33%) give him positive ones. In January, 67% gave the President negative ratings;
- The President spent a large part of last year pushing forward his health care reform package, yet almost three in five Americans (58%) give him negative ratings on his handling of it while 37% give him positive ratings;
- As the issue of education, from teachers’ unions to reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, takes a more prominent role, half of Americans (52%) give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of this issue and two in five (39%) give him positive marks;
- The world has watched as the unrest in the Middle East moves from country to country and the situation changes on a daily basis. A majority of Americans (52%) give President Obama negative ratings on his handling of the situation there while 39% give him positive marks; and,
- There is a closer divide when it comes to the issue of the environment. Just under half of Americans (48%) give President Obama negative ratings while 41% give him positive marks on his handling on this issue.
As a whole, Democrats are much more positive than Republicans on how President Obama is handling each of these six issues. For example, two-thirds of Democrats (66%) give President Obama positive ratings on his handling of health care compared to one in ten Republicans (9%) who do the same.
Back in 1992, James Carville posted a simple phrase in the Clinton campaign war room – “It’s the Economy, Stupid.” That sentiment hasn’t changed and when just half of Democrats (51%) give President Obama positive marks on his handling of jobs, that is not a good sign as the President starts planning his re-election.