Survey: Obama Supports State and Local Governments, Congress Does Not

A Governing survey finds most state and local officials believe the president's policies support their government, but far fewer feel the same way about Congress.
by | October 18, 2012 AT 12:30 PM

Most state and local officials believe President Obama supports their government, but far fewer feel the same way about Congress.

A Governing survey of 151 senior public officials found 62 percent reported the Obama administration’s policies supported their governments, with 14 percent somewhat disagreeing and 21 percent strongly disagreeing.

By contrast, only 29 percent said the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-held Senate support their state or local government. Forty-three percent of respondents somewhat disagreed Congress was helping their cause while 25 percent strongly disagreed.

The survey, conducted in July and August, measured a range of attitudes of Governing Exchange research community members.

Fifty-four percent of surveyed officials approved of the president’s job performance. That’s slightly higher than the 50 percent of U.S. adults approving of Obama in Gallup’s approval ratings last week. The president’s rating stood in the mid to high 40s during the time when Governing surveyed officials, with the question worded identically to the Gallup survey.

More officials also said their own state or locality was headed in the right direction (51 percent) than the nation as a whole (41 percent).

Governing will post updated results from a subsequent survey to be conducted after the election later this year.

Complete Survey Results

Governing’s research division conducted the survey July - August 2012, among a random sample of 151 senior state and local government officials.

Participants received invites via e-mail and completed the survey online. The survey was conducted using our proprietary Governing Exchange research community. The results cannot be projected to the entire population of government workers. Our group, for example, did not include rank-and-file police officers and teachers.

The President and his administration's policies support your government.

Strongly Agree    16%

Somewhat Agree    46%

Somewhat Disagree    14%

Strongly Disagree    21%

Don't Know    4%


Policies enacted/supported by the current U.S. Congress support the government for which you are employed.   

Strongly Agree    3%

Somewhat Agree    26%

Somewhat Disagree    43%

Strongly Disagree    25%

Don't Know    2%    


I have confidence in the elected officials leading my jurisdiction.

Strongly Agree    16%

Somewhat Agree    51%

Somewhat Disagree    18%

Strongly Disagree    15%

Don't Know    1%

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President?       

Approve    54%

Disapprove    36%

No opinion    10%

Would you say the country is headed in the right direction or has it gotten off on the wrong track?

Right Direction    41%

Wrong Track    49%

Don't Know    10%


Would you say your state or locality is headed in the right direction or has it gotten off on the wrong track?       

Right Direction    51%

Wrong Track    42%

Don't Know    7%


Which issue, from the list below, will play the largest role in the 2012 elections?    

Jobs/Economy    79%

Health care reform    9%

Entitlement program debate    5%

Foreign relations/policy    0%

Personal character of the candidates    5%

Other    3%

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