The NBC/WSJ pollsters attribute the wide discontent to the lingering effects of the Great Recession, as well as a loss of faith in the country's politicians.
Even though the recession ended years ago and even though the U.S. economy has created 200,000-plus jobs over the past six months, a plurality of Americans—49 percent—believe the economy is still in a recession. (However, that percentage is the lowest it's been since the Great Recession began, and 50 percent of respondents believe the economy is improving.)
What's more, a combined 71 percent say the recession personally impacted them "a lot" or "just some," and 64 percent say it's still having an effect on them.
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Then there are these numbers in the poll:
- 40 percent say someone in their household lost a job in the past five years;
- 27 percent say they have more than $5,000 in student-loan debt for either themselves or their children;
- 20 percent have more than $2,000 in credit card debt they are unable to pay off month to month;
- 17 percent say they have a parent or a child over 21 years old living with them for financial or health reasons.
"People are continuing to tell us what ways [the Great Recession] is still impacting them today," said GOP pollster Bill McInturff. "Those stories are pretty grim."
There's also the public's anger at Washington. A whopping 79 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the U.S. political system, including nearly half who are very dissatisfied.
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In addition, 71 percent of Americans believe the economic problems facing the country are due to the inability of elected officials in Washington to get things done to improve the economy.
By comparison, just 23 percent think the problems are due to deep and longstanding issues with the economy.
"The public seems have moved beyond the plaintive cry of 'Feel our pain!' to the more angry pronouncement of 'You are causing our pain!'" said Democratic pollster Fred Yang of Hart Research.