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Americans Sour on Direction of Country, Economy, Congress and Obama

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This crisis-burdened season is heading towards a summer of discontent for most Americans: they say they are unhappy with the direction of the country, the state of the economy, the job Congress is doing and with President Obama's performance, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted June 17-21.
Sixty-two percent of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track compared to 56 percent who said that in early May. This jibes with a CBS News/New York Times poll, conducted June 16-20 and released this week, which had 60 percent saying the country was headed in the wrong direction.
Eight-two percent are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the state of the economy (with 48 percent in the "very" dissatisfied category) while 18 percent are very or somewhat satisfied (2 percent are "very" satisfied).
Barack ObamaAmericans disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy by 50 percent to 46 percent with 4 percent undecided, compared to the 48 percent-to-46 percent margin by which they approved of his handling of the issue in early May.
That said, 72 percent say Obama is only somewhat or not really responsible for today's economic conditions (with 51 percent putting themselves in the "somewhat" responsible category) compared to 27 percent who hold him mainly or solely responsible. The blame aimed at former President Bush may be subsiding, with 60 percent saying he is only somewhat or not really responsible, while 40 percent still hold him mainly or solely responsible.
As far as Obama's overall standing with the public, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll had him in negative figures when it came to job approval for the first time in his presidency. Forty-eight percent disapproved of his performance while 45 percent approved, with 7 percent undecided. In late May, 48 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved with 7 percent undecided. Obama had come close to negative territory only twice in the NBC/Journal surveys dating back to February 2009 -- in March of this year and last December when his approval rating topped his disapproval number by only a point.

See the stories by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News on their poll.

Fifty percent disapprove of Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill while 42 percent approve, with 8 percent undecided.
When it comes to Congress, 73 percent disapprove of the job it is doing compared to 22 percent who approve, with 5 percent undecided. The disapproval percentage for Congress has been in the 70s since March.
Asked who they would like to see control the next Congress, 45 percent favored the Republicans while 43 percent backed the Democrats, with 12 percent undecided. The Republicans held a one point advantage in the generic congressional ballot in late May, and in early May, the two parties were tied.
The top two reasons cited by those who would like to see a GOP Congress were cutting federal spending and repealing the new health care reform law.
The top two reasons named by those favoring continued Democratic control were the need to look out for working people and to show support for Obama.
Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed said the decision they make on their congressional vote is not meant as a signal about how they feel towards Obama and his policies, while 32 percent want it to be seen as a sign of opposition to him and 27 percent intend it as a show of support. That contrasts with the results in January when 37 percent said their midterm vote would be meant as a show of support for Obama and 27 percent described it as a gesture of opposition.

When it comes to Sarah Palin who has been endorsing candidates whose philosophies match hers, 52 percent said they would have reservations or be very uncomfortable about a Palin-backed candidate, 25 percent would be enthusiastic or comfortable about the candidate and 21 percent said it would make no difference.

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17 Comments

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CURT E.

Its time to pull out of Iraq and Afganistan but keep watch on the nuclear weapons
in Pakistan. Everything about Afganistan is just a waste. Mc Krystal knows it, hence the reason for his behavior.

June 27 2010 at 2:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
andrc657

President Obama has accomplished a great deal. When he took office we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. After his stimulus package passed those numbers declined each month and we are now adding jobs. He has also cut taxes on the middle class, passed health care reform, saved the banking and auto industry, implemented more environmental regulation. Hopefully the deficit will come down after those tax cuts on the rich are rescinded and those two disastrous wars are ended.

June 26 2010 at 7:14 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
belmarjo1

The democrats are sticking it to us because they know they will be voted out in November and Obama is using that to get more of his uwanted policies passed.

June 26 2010 at 5:34 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

What has Obama done except make a bunch of promises he hasn't kept?..

June 26 2010 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
tadobobo

I am disappointed that more people have voted down my two posts (below) than have voted up. Both posts were offered to provide some historical basis to people for issues of current interest. It was hoped that by understanding what has happened in the past, people would so consider when forming opinions and positions posted herein. I am sorry that the down-voters seem to not want the relevant past to influence their thinking. Too bad…

June 25 2010 at 3:27 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
Kam

When are Democrats going to wake up to the fact that their party is no longer theirs? They ignore the people who are calling the Democrat party "Progressive" now - they better start doing some research on what "progressive" stands for and its roots The 'progress' part is misleading, it is the same old tired socialst/marxist policies of the 1930's that FDR tried to push forward, that have already been proven to have extended the depression into the Great Depression and were economically ruinous for the country. The progress means the slow progression into socialism and the loss of your individual freedom. The Dems (Progressives) profess to be for the 'little guy' but promote Union control and expansion of government (do some homework on Unions and their background as proponents of racism); neither of which grow the economy or create new businesses or jobs, and necessarily control your life, property and liberty. Union pensions have ruined the auto industry in Michigan and the economies of Union dominated states are ALL in the toilet. California's public sector unfunded pension liabilities is what is trashing the economy there and will likely force bankruptcy. Union members: force your corupt management out! They are not working for you they are using you and your dues to accomplish power and control for themselves, which they throw you crumbs. They have sold you a bill of goods - you don't put $175K into your retirement and end up with $8M. Union managers will shift these mismanaged pension funds onto the rest of us to pay, because they expect a pay-back bailout from the Obama Administration. Democrats - please wake up and take your party back.

June 24 2010 at 6:53 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
tadobobo

Here's some more history for those who think that the financial recovery is moving too slowly and blaming the Keynesian economic approach (which did end the Great Depression):
The unemployment rates for the years 1981 through 1988 were 7.6%, 9.7% (peaked at 10.8% in Nov 1982), 9.6%, 7.5%, 7.2%, 7.0%, 6.2%, and 5.5%, respectively. The rates of 9.7% and 9.6% are not too different from the current rates. The point is that it takes many years to reduce the unemployment rate. To expect a return to normalcy in a time frame on the order of months is totally unrealistic, especially for a population that is about 75% greater than in the 1980’s and in the aftermath of a recession (from December 2007 to July 2009 with a GDP decline of 3.7%) that is greater than that in the early 1980’s (from July 1981 to November 1982 with a GDP decline of 2.7%). In 1982 the peak unemployment month was at the end of the recessionary cycle, and it is not unusual for unemployment to peak after the recession is “officially” over. In conclusion, it will still take many years (maybe 5 to 6 years) before the unemployment rate returns to about 5%. People should recognize the reality of the situation. By the way, the 1980’s data given above are from the years when Ronald Reagan was the President.
I hope this helps...

June 24 2010 at 3:46 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
tadobobo

For those who are critical of overspending, a little history:
Just before WWII the national debt was about 50% of GDP.
By the end of WWII (when the US industry and economy was going full-tilt-boogie) the national debt was about 120% of GDP. That’s right the debt was greater than the economic output of an entire year!
Since the end of WWII every President has reduced the national debt until Reagan and Bush. When Reagan took office the national debt was about 33 % of GDP. When Bush (Sr) left office the national debt was about 66% of GDP.
Clinton reduced the national debt, so that when he left office the national debt was about 55% of GDP.
When Bush (Jr) left office the national debt was about 75% of GDP.
Today it is about 87% of GDP.
The national debt can also be represented in dollars or in dollars adjusted for inflation when comparisons are made across time. One point to keep in mind is that when represented as % of GDP, the national debt will appear larger during economic contraction (recession or depression) because the economic output is diminished. As examples, the 120% GDP national debt of WWII was significant, since the economy (due to the war) was booming, while today’s national debt of 87% is less so, since the current economy is yet sputtering from the recession of 2008.
I hope this helps...

June 24 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
smooth4x4

He inherited a HUGE mess and is now being blamed for not fixing it fast enough.

June 24 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to smooth4x4's comment
Kam

Yes, and Clinton inheirited a huge windfall economy and took credit for it. They can't take the responsibility when they are in power, but they sure like to take credit.

June 24 2010 at 7:20 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
Diane

Isn't blaming Obama for everything getting old? The bipartisanship in this country is the cause for our slow recovery. The republicans constant attacks on the president and congressional filibustering are what is holding our country back.

June 24 2010 at 9:26 AM Report abuse -34 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to Diane's comment

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