It is interesting to note that Hillary is the only person in the upper echelon of the US govt who is polling at higher than 50%…
Incidentally, I wonder what a Congress which is polling lower than Obama, who is polling in the mid 40s, can be expected to do when it comes to selling Obama’s agenda to the American public…
As the fall season begins, the focus moves away from town hall meetings and what is going on around the country back to how people in Washington are dealing with issues, especially health care reform. Unfortunately, many in Washington are not dealing from strong positions, including the president himself, in terms of approval ratings. In fact, when it comes to many of the leaders of Congress as well as those handling economic issues, majorities of Americans are not even familiar enough with these people to have an opinion regarding them.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,498 U.S. adults surveyed online between August 10 and 18, 2009 by Harris Interactive®.
Administration Leaders` Ratings
The rating of individual leaders in government varies greatly:
* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the only member of the administration to have a positive job rating. Just over half of Americans (51%) give her positive marks, while 31% give her negative ratings and 18% are not familiar enough with her to have an opinion;
* Vice President Joe Biden is rated more negatively (38%) than positively (33%) while 29% are not familiar enough to have an opinion;
* Just over one-quarter of Americans (28%) give Defense Secretary Robert Gates positive ratings while 17% give him negative ones, but a majority (55%) are not familiar with him;
* One in five Americans (20%) rate Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
positively, one-quarter (24%) rate his job performance negatively and 56% are not familiar enough with him to have an opinion; and,
* Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is rated positively by 17% of Americans,
negatively by 26% and 57% are not familiar with him.
Looking at Congress as a whole, their numbers continue to move downward. In May, they were at a high with 31% giving Congress positive ratings, but in June this dropped to 25% positive and currently just 22% give them positive ratings while almost four in five Americans (78%) give them negative ones. The rating of individual parties and leaders in Congress are not any better:
* One in five Americans (21%) give Democrats in Congress positive ratings while 47% give them negative ones and one-third (32%) say they are not familiar enough to have an opinion;
* Even lower numbers (12%) give Republicans in Congress positive ratings and over half (52%) give them negative ones while 37% are not familiar with them;
* Looking at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 19% of Americans give her job positive marks but almost half (48%) give her negative ones and one-third (33%) are not familiar with her;
* However, her familiarity is better than any of the other leaders in Congress. Staying in the House, three-quarter of Americans (73%) are not familiar with House Minority Leader John Boehner, with 8% giving him positive ratings and 19% negative marks; and
* Three in five Americans (61%) are not familiar with Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid, while 10% give him positive marks and 29% give him negative ones. On the other side of the aisle, 72% of Americans are not familiar enough with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to have an opinion, 8% give him positive marks and 20% give him negative ratings.
In order for President Obama to accomplish many of his goals, he will need
Congress to help him. However, they do not have the political capital to go to the American public and ask for support for many of these plans. And, among his Cabinet officials, only Secretary of State Clinton is seen in a positive light, so that will also not be of any help in selling health care reform to an already
The Harris Poll® #98
By Regina Corso, Director, The Harris Poll
This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States August 10 and 18,
2009, among 2,498 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex,
race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where
necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the
population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents`
propensity to be online. Full data tables and methodology are available at