A majority of Americans feel that America has is “on the wrong track,” and that they are worse off than they were in 2008.
In a sweeping poll released by Bloomberg today, 66 percent of respondents said that they felt that “things in the nation…have… gotten off on the wrong track,” compared to just 27 percent who felt the country was heading in the right direction. 51 percent of respondents said they were worse off now than they were two years ago.
Though reducing the deficit has been a central part of political rhetoric in recent weeks, only 25 percent of respondents said that they considered “the federal deficit and government spending” to be “the most important issue facing the country.” In addition, 51 percent of Americans said they feel that in addressing the deficit, it is more important to “minimize sacrifices for the American people,” and only 40 percent said the answer is “bold and fast change” that would tackle the issue head on.
Most of the proposed solutions for reducing the deficit were met with opposition from respondents, but 70 percent of Americans supported the idea of taxing Wall Street profits, 67 percent favored “means testing for Social Security and Medicare and reduce benefits for the wealthy,” and, weighing in on the issue of tax cuts for the wealthy, 59 percent of respondents were in favor of getting rid of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the budget deficit, which 60 percent voicing disapproval and only 31 percent approving of his policy. Respondents also rebuked Obama for his performance creating jobs, with 55 percent disapproving.
Though a Gallup poll released last week showed President Obama’s approval ratings dropping below those of former President George W. Bush, the Bloomberg poll found that 52 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Obama, while only 39 percent have a favorable view of Bush. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the most popular of the public figures asked about, with 65 percent of respondents saying they viewed her favorably.
Americans also voiced a desire for a cooling of partisan tensions, with 87 percent saying that it would be better for the country if Republicans and Democrats could “work together even if it means compromising some principles.” Adding to this sentiment, 56 percent said that they felt a government shutdown if the two sides could not agree ought to be avoided “at any cost.”