Americans are the most pessimistic they've been since the beginning of this year, when the US was mired in a deep recession, while confidence in President Obama and Congress is at the lowest level of 2009, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
Of those surveyed by telephone during the past weekend, 55 percent feel the nation is headed in the wrong direction, compared with 33 percent who felt the US was headed in the right direction. That's the worst showing since January, during the height of the economic crisis, when 59 percent felt that nation was on the wrong track and 26 percent felt it was on the right track.
President Obama's approval rating also edged to the lowest level since he took office in January. Only 47 percent approve of the job he's doing, while 46 percent disapprove. That compares with a 51 percent approval rating in October and 60 percent in February.
Only 42 percent think Obama is doing a good job on the economy, while 51 percent have a negative view of him on that issue. That compares with a 47 percent approval rating in October and 56 percent in February.
On foreign policy, the president does slightly better. Some 49 percent approve of his handling of foreign affairs, while 42 percent disapprove. That's still his worst performance rating on that issue since he took office.
As usual, Congress fared far worse than the president. Only 22 percent think Congress is doing a good job, while 68 percent disapprove of its job performance. That compares with a 31 percent approval rating in February and a 54 percent disapproval.
Republicans picked up a little bit of support, with 41 percent favoring a GOP controlled Congress after the mid-term elections next November, the highest percentage in years. Still, 43 percent favor continued Democratic control of Congress, down from 46 percent in October.
Congress can take heart, however, that their approval rating didn't plunge as much as Tiger Woods, who has been embroiled in a sex scandal over the past few weeks.
Only 15 percent of Americans have a positive view of the world's No. 1 golfer, compared with 76 percent who had a positive view of him in 1997. Some 42 percent have a negative view of him, compared with on 2 percent 12 years ago.
They survey of 1,008 Americans, conducted between Dec. 11-14, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.