Measuring the President’s Popularity Among Federal Employees

How do federal employees rate the president’s job performance? These are the results from our recent survey.

A few days ago, we asked readers to evaluate President Obama’s job performance.

Over 3,300 readers took the survey and over 1000 sent in their written comments as well.

Here are the results of our survey. We asked readers to grade President Obama’s performance with a rating ranging from A – F.

How would you grade President Obama’s job performance?

  • F: 34.3%
  • D: 24.7%
  • C: 10.3%
  • B: 15.3%
  • A: 14.4%
  • undecided: 0.9%

The results are similar to the results of a nationwide survey released this week which showed that 56% of those polled disapproved of the President’s performance.

Probably the most common complaint about President Obama’s performance was the national debt or level of government spending. Others cited extreme liberal policies and philosophy and paying too much attention to health care and not enough about jobs or the economy.

Those that gave him higher grades often cite the argument that he inherited a tough situation and is doing well under the circumstances.

There is no doubt that President Obama has generated political passions among voters (including federal employees). But, as you can see from the comments and the poll results, those who had hoped for a more unified electorate and less political division among Americans will be disappointed. If anything, the electorate is more divided and more argumentative – perhaps more angry – than ever.

A reader in a recent survey suggested we break down the results based on how people voted in the last election. We recently upgraded to a new survey software package that enabled us to filter results and you can see some of these results posted later in this article.

Not surprisingly, asking the question about how a person voted did not sit well with everyone. One reader thought we were going to eliminate responses from those who voted for one particular candidate. If that is your concern, please relax. The program counted every vote submitted regardless of your answer and they are all counted in the overall results.

Our webmaster researched a number of programs and we purchased the right to use the one that we thought would best satisfy the needs of our readers. We selected “Survey Monkey” – a program used to reliably run tens of thousands of surveys by a variety of companies. One reader thought we were racist since the survey was about a black president and the web address to take the survey (which is generated automatically by the survey program) contained the word “surveymonkey”. The reality is that the program includes this because the program is called “Survey Monkey.” We don’t know why the company that owns the program selected that name but relatively few surveys using the program are likely to be about presidential politics or Barack Obama and that term appears in all web addresses it creates to access a survey. In short, we are confident that the programmers were not thinking in racial terms.


Here are a few of the comments that we selected from the more than 1,000 submitted. Most of the comments sent in reflected the views of a majority of readers who gave the President a low grade. We have selected a sample from both sides.

  • Campaigned as a moderate spends like a Liberal
  • He wants to show the rich what it was like to be on welfare. He has the mindset of the 1970s.
  • I don’t know how the conservatives can call Obama a “liberal” – I am a liberal and he has taken positions on health care, Afghanistan, the banks, etc. which are anything but the liberal position. He is much too willing to sacrifice principle to get a compromise.
  • He ran as a moderate but is governing as a left wing, Marxist, extremist.
  • He is doing what he promised, changing this great nation. However, he is changing it into a economically broken 3rd rate socialist state. You can keep this change, our founding fathers are probably spinning so fast in their graves, you could power DC with the heat.
  • He has not done what he said he would do, he lies.
  • Worldwide image is better, domestically we are poorer.
  • Pres. Obama is an excellent leader tasked with a thankless job. He shows leadership in his surrounding himself with brilliant leaders in their own spheres that work to match his service.
  • As the President himself said, our spending is unsustainable. But he keeps spending even more. Does he want to destroy the economy ???
  • He promised to be a post-partisan, transcendent president, and instead revealed his true self: a Chicago pol and hyper-partisan leftist.
  • He wasn’t elected “king” of America. He’s not done anything that’s good for America (the America I knew). We’re just seeing “Chicago politics” on a large scale and cramming communist crap down America’s throat isn’t going to bode well for us in the future. I am ashamed of what we’ve turned into in such a short time.
  • Healthcare taking up too much time and effort when he should be concentrating on the economy
  • I really am worried about expanding the national debt so greatly.
  • It seems he is intentionally trying to bankrupt our country and destroy capitalism. Stop focusing on health care and start focusing on the economy, please!
  • Worst president in my lifetime. Every lie he told during the campaign to get elected has surfaced and Americans should know by now that his underlying goal is to make America a socialist nation.
  • Second coming of Jimmy Carter
  • In these tough times, could anyone else do a better job!
  • This man was dumped with so many problems and he has waded his way through the mess with dignity and a keen sense of getting us back on track. Keep up the good work Mr. President!
  • Barack Obama was handed a mess by G.W. Bush and he has made the best of it.
  • Americans made the right choice last fall. President Obama is doing a great job.
  • Who would have done better? He was handed the toughest job in the world that was not of his making, althought politics might have you think otherwise. Although we may yet go thru crisis, his administration’s actions thus far have delayed and (hopefully) averted crisis. I am neither democrat or republican, I am a realist.
  • Atlas Shrugged November 4, 2008!
  • He is an inexperienced socialist, mentored by Marxists and Communists. The only President ever to dislike America, Capitalism, and the U.S. Constitution. I will not respect the office when the man in office does not respect the office, the Constitution, the Flag, and the country for which they stand.
  • He is the worst President ever. He is destroying this country. We need him out of office as fast as we can get him out. Impeach Obama NOW.
  • Needs a lot of improvement. He is a great public speaker an awful executor.
  • Too much blaming President Bush when things don’t go his way – SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY and increasing the debt – has not reached out to those who did not support him like he promised; too many Chicago cronies in the White House
  • Mr. Obama’s spending continues to be out of control and I didn’t realize he wanted to take us to socialism.
  • He is spending our taxpayer’s dollars like it is an entitlement, the deficit is more important than anything else at this point in time.
  • No depth or substance. The campaign is over. Start using your so-called qualifications. Stop catering to the left exclusively. Stop ruining the future of our country by continuing to increase our debt to the Chinese.

We also filtered the results to see how opinions stacked up from those who voted for John McCain and those who voted for Barack Obama in the election. Not surprisingly, there is a difference.

Among those who voted for McCain, the results are as follows:

How would you grade President Obama’s job performance?

  • F: 53.8%
  • D: 33.6%
  • C: 9%
  • B: 1.9%
  • A: 1.2%
  • Undecided: 0.6%

Among those who voted for Barack Obama, the grades are much higher:

  • B: 35.7%
  • A: 33.5%
  • C: 11.6%
  • D: 10.7%
  • F: 7.6%
  • Undecided: 0.9%

In the overall survey, 50% of readers indicated they voted for John McCain; 39% said they voted for Barack Obama; 6.6% voted for another candidate; 4% did not vote and 0.3% were not sure who they voted for.

Our thanks to readers who took the time to vote in this survey and a special thanks to the many readers who also sent in their written comments.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47