81% of Americans believe their nation is headed in the wrong direction. The public mood hasn’t been this low since the early 1990s.

An overwhelming majority of Americans are more dissatisfied with their country then ever before, according to a recent poll. In a survey by The New York Times and CBS News, 81% of the respondents said that the country has drifted in a totally wrong direction. In general, the people report that things are not going well. A year ago, 69% felt this way, and in early 2002, only 35% did. The telephone survey polled 1,368 U.S. citizens between March 28 and April 2.

According to the newspaper, this result is the worst since the early 1990s and was reported in almost all demographic categories – women and men, city and rural residents, Republicans and Democrats, academics and blue-collar workers. “Although public opinion has generally deteriorated since the beginning of the war in Iraq," The New York Times writes that “the mood has taken a turn for the worse in the last few months.”

Seventy-eight percent of those polled believe the country is worse off than five years ago. Economic issues are weighing heavily on people’s minds. Only 21% feel the economy is in good shape, the lowest response since 1992. While the Iraq War and fighting terrorism were still top issues in December for many, only 17% now report that the war against terrorism is the most pressing issue in the country, with 37% citing the economy. This is especially worth noting, reports the paper, because such dissatisfaction usually reachs its lowest point after an economic downturn, not at the start of one.

The newspaper states that the poll results reveal risks for Republicans in the upcoming election: only 28% of those polled approved of the job President George W. Bush was doing, a number that has barely changed since last summer. But the Democrats, who have controlled both the House and the Senate since 2007, will also face the wrath of unhappy voters.