As most Americans think about summer vacations, barbecues and the beach, President Obama has other things on his mind, including the oil spill in the Gulf, a shift of military leaders in Afghanistan, the economic summit in Canada and, as since taking office, jobs and the economy. And perhaps, because of all this, the President is now at his worst job ratings with only 39% of Americans giving him positive ratings on the overall job he is doing and 61% giving him negative marks. This is down from May when 42% gave him positive ratings and 58% negative ones.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,227 adults surveyed online between June 14 and 21, 2010 by Harris Interactive.
One problem for President Obama is that he is losing support from his base. Three in ten Democrats (29%) and Liberals (30%) give him negative ratings for the overall job he is doing. While it is not surprising that large numbers of Republicans (92%) and Conservatives (86%) give him negative ratings, two-thirds of Independents (68%) and almost three in five Moderates (58%) do so, as well.
There are also regional differences in how Americans view President Obama’s job performance. Those in the East and West are more likely to give him positive ratings (43% and 41% respectively) while those in the South are more likely to give the president negative ratings (65%). The more education one has, the more likely they are to think President Obama is doing a good job. Just three in ten of those with a high school degree or less (31%) give the president positive ratings compared to 47% of college graduates and over half of those with a post-graduate education (53%).
Going hand in hand with the president’s job numbers is how people think the country overall is doing. Just one-third of Americans (34%) believe the country is heading in the right direction while 66% say it is going off on the wrong track. This is down from last month when 36% said the country was heading in the right direction and 64% believed it was off on the right track.
In looking at the most important issues for the government to address, it is not surprising that economic issues rise to the top as almost three in ten Americans each say the most important issue for the government to address is the economy (28%) and employment/jobs (28%). Even though a reform bill has been signed into law, almost one-quarter (23%) say health care should be addressed. And, new to the list one in five Americans (20%) say the oil spill in the Gulf needs to be addressed.
It is a tough situation for any president to deal with, when faced with so many competing problems and being pulled in so many directions at once. For this president, one of the issues is that even when it appears he has a win, such as with health care reform, the battle was so costly that the win falls hollow. Now he and the White House are faced with congressional elections in just a few months, an angry electorate, and dwindling support among his own partisans. If the summer does not go well for President Obama and this continues to trickle down to Democrats across the country, there very well may be a new party in control of Congress in January.