President Obama Ends Year with Lowest Approval Ratings of His Presidency

NEW YORK – As President Obama prepares to bid goodbye to 2010, he ends the year with the lowest approval ratings of his presidency. Almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) give him negative ratings for the overall job he is doing while 36% give him positive ratings. This is down from November when 38% of Americans gave President Obama positive ratings and 62% gave him negative ones.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,331 adults surveyed online between December 6 and 13, 2010 by Harris Interactive.

President Obama

Looking at his job ratings by political party, over nine in ten Republicans (92%) give the President negative marks as do over two-thirds of Independents (69%). While two-thirds of Democrats (68%) still give President Obama positive ratings, one-third (32%) give him negative marks as do 36% of Liberals. There is an educational difference. Seven in ten of those with a high school or less education (70%) give President Obama negative ratings as do two-thirds of those with some college (65%). However, this drops to half of college graduates (57%) and those with a post-graduate education (54%) who give the President negative ratings.

Congressional approval ratings

Even after the election, things do not look better for Congress. Just one in ten Americans (11%) give Congress positive marks while 89% give them negative ratings on the overall job they are doing. Although they may have lost control, Democrats are slightly more positive about the job Congress is doing. Just over one in five Democrats (22%) give Congress positive ratings compared to 8% of Independents and 5% of Republicans who do the same.

Direction of the country

One reason all these numbers may be so negative is that the overall attitude about how the country is going is also negative. Currently, just three in ten Americans (29%) say things in the country are going in the right direction while seven in ten (71%) say they are going off on the wrong track. Last month, one-third of Americans (33%) said things were going in the right direction while two-thirds (67%) said they were going off on the wrong track. This is now the lowest the right direction numbers have been since President Obama took office.

So What?

With the dawn of a new year in a few weeks there is also a new Congress and a new political landscape in Washington, D.C. And, for better or worse, it’s also the beginning of a 22 month journey to the next presidential election. How President Obama deals with the new Congress and political reality in the next few months will definitely help shape the journey to November 2012. In reality, that may be a long way away, but in politics, it is just around the corner.

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