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.
Partisanship definitely exists in looking at President Obama's job approval ratings. Nine in ten Republicans (90%) give the President poor ratings while almost three-quarters (73%) of Democrats give him positive marks and Independents are more negative than positive with 60% giving the President negative marks and 40% positive. What is interesting is the depth of support among Republicans and Democrats. Almost six in ten Republicans (57%) give President Obama a rating of poor, the worst on the scale. Among Democrats, just one in five (22%) give the President a rating of excellent, while half (50%) say he is doing a pretty good job.
There is also a large regional divide. Just three in ten Southerners (31%) give President Obama positive ratings as do 42% of Midwesterners. Westerners are very split as 49% give the President positive ratings while 51% give him negative marks. The President's strongest ratings come from the East where over half (54%) give him positive ratings on the job he is doing.
It is almost two months into the new Congress and yet they are not faring much better than the previous Congress did in terms of their ratings. Over four in five Americans (86%) rate the overall job Congress is doing negatively while just 14% give Congress positive ratings. Last month, 84% of U.S. adults gave them negative marks while 16% positive ratings.
It's not just Congress and the President who are mired in negative ratings, the direction of the country is as well. Almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) say things in the country are going off on the wrong track, almost the same as last month (63%). Over one-third of U.S. adults (36%) say things are going in the right direction; 37% said this last month.
Americans may be hearing that things are getting better and they can see the stock market has had a nice run, but this hasn't translated into better job ratings for President Obama or for Congress. And, if turmoil in the Middle East continues and impacts gas prices for the summer driving season, expect these numbers to move down, not up. That's something the White House definitely does not want to see one year before the presidential election.