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Stunning McClatchy/Marist Poll: 70% Say U.S. Heading In Wrong Direction

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was sobering news Tuesday for President Barack Obama and Congress.

Most Americans now think the country is on the wrong track and in dire need of a course correction, reports CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.

Former President Bill Clinton had it right when he said "it's the economy, stupid." And as our economic woes have increased so have Americans' pessimism about where the country is going.

A stunning new McClatchy/Marist poll found that 70 percent of Americans believe we're on the wrong track, the highest number in more than a decade. Only 21 percent say we're travelling along the right one.

And that's a substantial increase in just a few months.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb On A New Poll


In June, 59 percent said we need a course correction; 32 percent said right track.

You can feel the pessimism on the streets of New York City.

"There's a crisis of confidence right now," said Charles Blank of Manhattan.

"I definitely don't think the country is going n the right direction. I just don't like what's happening in the past couple of years. He promised change and there hasn't been any change. I think I'm ready for new leadership," added tourist Courtney Mohack of San Antonio, Texas.

"Everyone else around me is freaking out," Marina Blitshteyn said.

President Obama and the members of Congress should also take note that Americans think the debt agreement was bad for the country and take a dim view of the politicians who made it.

Of those polled, 77 percent said the debt debate made them less confident in government in Washington. The president and members of Congress have 15 percent increased confidence.

Asked what Congress should do to pay down the debt, those polled said the following:

*68 percent support increasing taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year

*60 percent support eliminating subsidies for oil and gas companies

*50 percent back cutting defense spending

* 83 percent are against cutting Medicare and Social Security

"I think there's got to be some give and take. At the end of the day some of the social programs the left is fighting so hard to keep are going to have to go or be cut down. A lot of people on the right on some tax increases, too," said Taylor Stevens of Atlanta.

"I suggest we take a close look at everything and make the hard decisions we've never made before because now we finally have some motivation," Blank said.

President Obama doesn't fare very well in terms of job approval, but he does better than either the Republicans or Democrats in Congress. The president's job approval rating is 44 percent; Democrats get a 35 and Republicans just 27 percent.

Who's to blame for the nation's economic problems? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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