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US: National Survey (Harris 1/18-25)

Topics: poll

Harris
1/18-25/10; 2,576 adults
Mode: Internet
(Harris release)

National

Obama Job Rating
40% Excellent/Good, 60% Fair/Poor (chart)
Dems: 75 / 25 (chart)
Reps: 10 / 90 (chart)
Inds: 33 / 67 (chart)

State of the Country
37% Right Direction, 63% Wrong Track (chart)

 

Comments
BH:

Not necessarily meaningful without an approve/disapprove question. But ouch! 63% wrong track?!

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Farleftandproud:

This Poll is crap. Obama, whether you like him or not is just trying to do a job and lead a country during a tough time. This poll is absolutely ludicrous to put doing a fair job and a poor job in the same category. What is the Harris Poll? Is it's founder Katherine Harris, the woman who was succesful in the Bush coup in Florida to force his way into the white house.

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Farleftandproud:

And besides, I am so sick of the question people are asked is the country headed in the wrong direction. I think our country in many ways has been going to hell in a handbag for a long time; I am a huge Obama fan, but I still think people are making stupid choices, and many aspects of American culture I think are going in the wrong direction. I think progressives are the most likely group to say this.

They have to be more specific in these polls and ask do you think the administration now is better or worse than the direction of the previous administration. It is a fair question and one that is a clear indicator to evaluate Obama.

This country was a zoo of so many cultures, special interests, criminals, Urban decay illegals, gangs, drugs, the culture wars, our overcrowded prison system, religious extremism, teen pregnancy, losing loved ones overseas in wars, losing health care coverage, homelessness. How could just about anyone say our country is headed in the right direction? Obama never promised he could change these things.

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Cyril Washbrook:

Seriously, Farleftandproud, calm down about the veracity of the poll. For a start, the answer is no, Harris Interactive was not founded by Katherine Harris; it was founded in 1956 by the political scientist Gordon S. Black (the Harris name comes from one of the companies the Gordon S. Black Corporation acquired later on). It's a respectable polling outfit - neither one of the best nor one of the worst - so that's a silly cheap shot on your part.

Secondly, I'm of the view that "Excellent/Good/Fair/Poor" isn't a very useful categorisation, but that doesn't mean that the poll is "crap" - it just means that you can't compare its results to that of an organisation which uses the categories "Strongly Approve/Approve/Disapprove/Strongly Disapprove". As long as it's internally consistent - i.e. they don't change the questions every month - then it's fine. It's not ideal, but it's not something you should be getting into a flap about.

In sum, this poll is actually quite unremarkable. I have no idea why you felt the need to fly off into a rage.

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CUWriter:

As I've said many times before, I don't lie excellent/good/fair/poor polls... mostly because they don't line up with approve/disapprove which is what the vast majority of pollsters use. I think such polls should not be included in the aggregate chart here on Pollster. Instead, put the Harris poll and Zogby poll on their own chart.

At any rate, Cyril is right. Just use this one as a comparison to previous Harris polls, not any other organization. The trend is about the same as it is will other organizations and the right/wrong track is pretty close to in-line with competitors. That said, I also still don't like Internet polls but that's another story.

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Farleftandproud:

I flipped out not because of this actual poll but because it seems like over the past decade few people would actually say our country is headed in the right direction. My point has to do with the fact I don't really think any one president is going to be able to be able to really change the direction the country is headed in. As for actual policies, that is different, but asking someone what direction a nation of 300 million people is headed in, the answer is almost always going to be negative.

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Farleftandproud:

Harris is the worst poll of all because on presidential approval it is via internet. 40 percent approval for Obama? I don't think it is that bad yet.

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