Right before the State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, 31% of Americans said they would give President Obama positive marks for the job he is doing on the economy while 69% gave him negative ratings. This is down from December 2009, when 36% gave him positive ratings and 64% negative.
Jobs are Key
Lowering the unemployment rate, which measured 10% in January 2010, appears to be the key for President Obama to improve his economic approval ratings. Only 10% of Americans believe the current job market of their region of the nation is good, while 70% believe it is bad, and 20% say it is neither good nor bad.
The most economically satisfied region of the country is the South, as 14% of Southerners say the job market in their region is good, while 64% believe it is bad. The Midwest is the least economically satisfied region, as only 6% of Midwesterners say their job market is good and 76% say it is bad.
Most people do not see a light on the near horizon for the job market. Just 7% of Americans believe the job market has already started growing, while 14% say it will start to improve in the next six months. Another 24% say the job recovery will begin between six and 12 months from now, while 39% say it will not happen for another year or longer.
Other Polls Show Obama Has Problems
Two other recent Harris Interactive polls demonstrate that a majority of Americans are generally dissatisfied with how he is managing the country’s affairs.
President Obama received 60% negative ratings and only 40% positive ratings, according to one recent Harris Interactive poll.
In comparison, President George W. Bush has the highest ratings one year into office as 79% gave him positive ratings in January 2002 as the nation was still recovering from the events of September 11, 2001. One year into his first term, Americans were divided on Bill Clinton (50% positive/48% negative). President George H.W. Bush had similar high numbers to his son (70%) in February 1990 as the nation was seeing the quick resolution to the first Gulf War.
In addition, another recent Harris Interactive poll indicates more than four in five US adults (84%) give negative ratings to the current state of the union, with 40% saying it is poor, the lowest on the Harris Poll scale. Just 16% give the state of the union positive ratings, with only 3% saying it is excellent, the highest possible rating.
About the Survey: These results come from a Harris Poll of 2,576 adults 18 and over surveyed online between January 18-25, 2010 by Harris Interactive.