NBC/WSJ Poll: Nation Is Headed In Wrong Direction

A majority of Americans believe the nation is headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey.

Sixty-six percent of individuals polled believe things in the nation have veered off onto the wrong track, up from 57% at the start of the year. Meanwhile, 22% of individuals surveyed believe the nation is headed in the right direction while 12% had mixed feelings.

Just over half (51%) of those polled generally disapprove of the job President Bush is doing handling the economy -- compared with 53% in January -- while 40% approve and 9% are unsure.

President Bush's approval ratings remain near all-time lows: 60% of those polled disapprove of the job that Bush is doing in general, down only slightly from a 61% disapproval rating last December. Thirty-five percent of individuals surveyed approve of the job he's doing and another 5% are unsure. A vast majority (74%) say the next president should take a different approach than Bush has.

Half of individuals polled believe that the Iraq war should be Bush's top priority, while 23% said healthcare should be his number one concern. Twenty-one percent thought illegal immigration should be his first priority, while 18% ranked terrorism and energy and gas costs. Sixteen percent though job creation and economic growth should be first on Bush's list, while 12% said environment and global warming.

Nearly half of those polled believe the situation in Iraq has gotten worse over the past three months, while 37% believe conditions have remained about the same and 12% said the situation improved. A majority of Americans polled (55%) believe victory in Iraq is no longer possible, while 36% are more optimistic and believe victory can be achieved. Nine-percent were unsure.

A majority of individuals surveyed (56%) now side with the Democrats in Congress, who want to set a deadline for troop withdrawal, while 37% agree with President Bush, who does not want to set a deadline.

The survey, which polled 1,004 individuals in late April, has a margin of error of three percentage points.