The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted May 16-20, finds a deepening pessimism on the economy, a competitive Presidential race (43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Romney – 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} Obama), and a dead-even Congressional Preference among voters (43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} prefer a Congress  Controlled by Republicans – 44{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} prefer a Congress  Controlled by Democrats).

Attitudes on the economy overall and President Obama’s approach on a number of economic priorities further exposed the president’s vulnerability after four years of an anemic economy. In this poll, we find 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy, 53{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} feel less optimistic based on what they have been seeing, reading, and hearing in the last few weeks and when presented with the latest labor statistics, 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say they are not a reason for optimism about the economic conditions in the country.

Further, 47{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} believe Obama’s approach to the budget deficit problem has made things worse, 43{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} believe his approach on the health care issue has made things worse, 37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} believe his approach to gas prices has made things worse. A record high 41{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} say they have “no confidence at all” that Obama has the right goals and policies to improve the economy.

While the public gives the president credit for making things better in the automobile industry, in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, on the central issue of this election, the economy, the American public continues to reject the president’s approach and policies.

NBC News / Wall Street Journal — May 16-20, 2012 (PDF Format)

Public Opinion Strategies