Matt Stiles

Reporter and data journalist @latimes & @datagraphics.

Aug 2, 2021
Published on: Los Angeles Times
1 min read

The Times is tracking the latest national opinion polls to help gauge how voters view Vice President Kamala Harris. A California native, Harris is the first female, Black, and South Asian American to serve as the nation’s second in command.

As of July 27, 45% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 48% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -3 percentage points, according to a Times average. This page will update as new polls arrive.

Since taking office, Harris has been assigned one of the administration’s thorniest issues: stemming the influx of immigrants attempting to cross U.S. borders. Republicans have sought to make her the face of an issue that they believe could help them politically.

After taking on that role, Harris’ approval ratings began to decline, with unfavorable opinions surpassing favorable ones in June. Whether the decline is directly related to the immigration debate is uncertain, however, as the dip in her approval also corresponds to a small decline in President Biden’s job approval.

The dip followed an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, where Harris bristled at a question about why she had not visited the border, triggering criticism. Comments about immigration and the United States’ southern border during visits to Mexico and Guatemala have also sparked controversy.

The decline also corresponds with studies showing that Harris, like other female politicians, has increasingly become the target of online abuse. As Harris’ stature has increased, so has the volume of sexist, violent and misogynistic attacks against her on social media, with researchers finding hundreds of thousands of examples.

How Harris compares to her predecessors

Past polls show how the favorability of previous vice presidents changed during their first four years in office. Harris' rating is higher than that of former Vice President Mike Pence at this point in their respective tenures, but lower than the ratings of three previous vice presidents.

Harris’ net favorability versus past vice presidents

As the country has become more partisan, vice presidents have been less likely to enjoy broad support among the public. Pence, for example, had a net favorability of roughly zero for much of his four years in the White House. Joe Biden, Dick Cheney and Al Gore all began their tenures with higher ratings than Harris currently enjoys.

How Harris compares to Biden

In The Times’ latest average, President Biden’s favorable rating is 52% and his unfavorable rating is 45% — a positive net of about 7 percentage points.

That puts Harris’ rating under Biden’s by 10.2 percentage points.

Recent academic research and a Times review of the past four presidential administrations suggest that vice presidential ratings are closely tied to presidential ratings. Time will tell whether Harris’ scores will rise or fall with the popularity of Biden.

How different groups view Harris

The vice president’s favorability among voters varies greatly depending on their politics and demographics, according to data gathered as part of the most recent YouGov poll.

The largest difference is partisan, with opinions split down party lines. Generally, Harris does better with women, African American voters and college graduates.