Most Americans Feel Nation Is 'Out of Control': Poll

Some 80% of voters worry about direction of nation as Covid-19 continues to spread, tens of millions are jobless and protests rage around the nation, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
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The news of late has been grim. Nearly 2 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and nearly 110,000 have died -- more than in any other country. The protests that have erupted nationwide after the death of George Floyd and other black men and women at the hands of police have been met by shows of militaristic force and more accusations of brutality, as well as some looting. Tens of millions have lost their jobs -- and after hearing of a surprise uptick in hirings on Friday, Americans awoke over the weekend to news of a "misclassification error" that poured cold water on the good news. 

Now, a majority of U.S. voters believe the U.S. is heading out of control.

Some four-in-five Americans, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, say they feel "that things are out of control in the United States."

The poll was taken between May 28 to June 2, after videos emerged of Floyd’s death while under the knee of a now-former Minneapolis police officer during an arrest. 

The poll, however, was completed before Friday's report that 2.5 million jobs were added in May -- and before the Bureau of Labor Statistics put out a correction suggesting that there was actually a likely "3.1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate for May," raising the level to 16.4% when compared with the official seasonally adjusted rate of 13.3%.

News of the jobs numbers, and the error, have captured headlines over the weekend. The report gave stocks a boost on Friday, but then the correction led to added uncertainty over the state of the economy. 

Political Toll

From a political perspective, the poll appeared to be bad news for the president.

While many Americans polled questioned President Donald Trump's ability to unite the nation, the president's job rating stayed in the mid-40s. The assumed Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, also kept his lead over Trump.

And another, separate poll found more potential bad news for Trump. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that just 46% of Republicans say the nation is going in the right direction, according to Reuters on Sunday. That's a big drop from a March poll that found 70% of Republicans were hopeful about where America was headed. 

Only a small number of voters -- 15% -- in the NBC News/WSJ poll believe that the nation is "under control."

Just about half of those polled say the economy is “poor” right now, and just over half say they believe it will take 12 months or longer until the coronavirus is contained and the economy returns to normal. 

As the protests over police violence against minorities continue to fill the streets across the nation, most of those polled also said that Floyd's death and the actions of police are more worrying than the actual demonstrations opposing police brutality and racism. 

Democrats polled, however, were far more likely to be concerned about Floyd’s death than were Republicans, found the NBC News/WSJ poll.

This story has been updated.