Are you better off than you were two years ago? Most Americans say "no," according to a Bloomberg National News poll.
Fifty-one percent said their situation has gotten worse, while 35 percent said they were doing better.
Sixty-six percent of those polled think the nation is headed in the wrong direction. That pessimism is up 4 percent from those who felt that way when polled in October and is the worst polling since the Bloomberg National Poll began in September 2009.
Fifty percent of respondents said the top issue facing America is unemployment and jobs, twice as as many as those who picked the federal deficit and government spending as the nation's top problem.
Forty-six percent expected to spend less this year for Christmas than last; only 12 percent anticipate spending more.
"It's definitely different this year than it's been," said poll respondent Larry Deyo, a 38-year-old father of two in Marlton, N.J. "I can't really do too much with spending."
Dayo said he lost his job at a kitchen and bath design center when the company closed, and he's now working at a Home Depot Inc. store with a "significant decrease" in pay.
The Bloomberg National poll was conducted Dec. 4-7. The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.