8 in 10 Americans Say Economy Is Bad

A new CBS News poll finds that fewer than half -- 48 percent -- approve of the job President Obama is doing. That's a four point improvement from last month, reports CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.

Pessimism about the economy is deepening. More than 8 in 10 Americans (83 percent) now say the economy is bad.

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"It's a mess, it's going to get better, it has to get better," said a woman from Chicago.

Like her, 59 percent of Americans think the economy will bounce back.

"I think it will get better because it always does," said an Atlanta man.

But a whopping 37 percent believe it is in permanent decline.

"Oh no, oh no, we have a long way to go, a long way to go," said a man from Washington D.C..

"I don't see it recovering anytime soon," said a Washington D.C. woman.

A woman from Virgina says three people on her block are unemployed, including her husband - a former American Airlines pilot.

"He actually went back to get a realtor's license, but that isn't exactly the best market to be in either," said the woman.

A CBS News poll shows the nation is nearly split over the president's handling of the economy.

So were shoppers at this Chicago farmer's market today.

"You gotta give him a chance to do what he can do," said a Chicago man.

"I think he's being too much of a figurehead and not getting his hands dirty in the whole process," said a Chicago man.

Either way, only 5 percent think Mr. Obama's policies are to blame for high unemployment.

"Congress allowed what happened to happen," said a Calif. man. "I'm so angry about it I just can't even tell you."

And with the federal debt soaring, 56 percent say the Bush tax cuts for the highest income Americans who earn $250,000 or more annually should be allowed to expire.

The CBS poll also asked about Iraq, now that the war is winding down.

A stunning six in ten (59 percent) think the U.S. did the wrong thing going into Iraq. A sharp contrast to the nearly 70 percent (69 percent) who backed the war in spring of 2003 when they were told Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

"We've pulled out now and that's a good thing," said a man from Los Angeles. "I don't know if the whole thing was a good idea in the first place. It cost us just as much as it cost them.

Forty-eight percent oppose the war in Afghanistan -- up from 39 percent a year ago.

"It's very difficult to fight a war when you don't know who the bad guys are," said a man from Washington, D.C.

And on the hot button issue of immigration, the poll found nearly half the country (47 percent) thinks the law granting automatic citizenship to children born in America should be changed.

"I think if the parent is not a U.S. citizen, the child is not a U.S. citizen," said a Chicago woman.

Changing that law would require altering the 14th Amendment, a conservative cause on Capitol Hill that could become a campaign issue in the fall.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.