Poll Says Half of Americans Won’t Re-elect Obama

While President Barack Obama’s job ratings may not have changed much from the gain they saw after the death of Osama Bin Laden, there are some shifts the White House probably should worry about as they pertain to his re-election numbers.

Currently, 45% of Americans give the President positive ratings for the overall job he is doing while 55% give him negative ratings. Earlier this month, right after the death of the terrorist leader, 46% gave President Obama positive ratings and 54% gave him negative marks.

There are two groups that give President Obama higher ratings. Among regions, 54% of Westerners give him positive marks compared to 40% of Southerners, 42% of Easterners and 44% of those in the Midwest.

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Almost two-thirds of those with a post graduate degree (64%) give the President positive ratings as do 49% of college graduates and half of those with some college education (50%) while just one third of those with a high school diploma or less (34%) give President Obama positive ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,184 adults surveyed online between May 9 and 16, 2011 by Harris Interactive. The results were released Thursday, May 19.

Congress, which did not get much of a post-Osama killing bump, also hasn’t seen their ratings change much in the past two weeks. Earlier in the month, 13% of Americans gave them positive ratings while 87% gave them negative ones. Now, 12% of U.S. adults give them positive marks while 88% of U.S. adults give Congress negative ratings for their overall job.

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Also slipping downward slightly is the direction of the country, according to Harris Interactive. Just under two in five Americans (38%) say the country is going in the right direction, down one point from earlier this month. Slightly over three in five say the country is going off on the wrong track (62%), up one point from early May.

One reason for this overall sense of dissatisfaction is still the economy. One-third of Americans (33%) say that employment/jobs are one of the two most important issues for the government to address, unchanged from January.

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One in three U.S. adults (29%) says the most important issue is the economy overall, up from 24% who said this in January. Rounding out the top five most important issues to be addressed is healthcare (18%), the budget deficit/national debt (17%) and gas and oil prices (12% up from 1% who said this in January).

It is this worry and concern over the economy that may be driving the numbers the White House is starting to care most about – likelihood of the American public to vote for President Obama again next November.

Half of Americans (49%) say they are unlikely to vote for Barack Obama if the election for president were held today, up from 47% who said this in early May. Just over two in five Americans (43%) say they are likely to vote for him, down from 46% who said so earlier this month.

Even more concerning for the re-election committee is that one in five Democrats (20%) say they are not likely to vote for the President while 7% at not at all sure.

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The reported death of Osama Bin Laden brought the country together, but the question was always how long would that cohesion last. So far, the overall job ratings for the President are holding steady, but at this point in the election cycle President Obama and his advisors are not just thinking about the current job he has, but of extending it for another four years.

Come next November, voters will be asking themselves if they are better off than they were in 2009. If the answer isn’t yes, there could be issues for the re-election chances of President Obama.

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 9 to 16, 2011 among 2,184 adults (aged 18 and over).

Photo courtesy: www.whitehouse.gov

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Rakesh Raman