Washington (CNN) - More than three-quarters of Americans said that the current economic conditions are the worst that they've ever lived through, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, hours before President Obama delivers his first State of the Union address, indicated that 77 percent of the public feels that the rough economic times the country's currently facing are the worst in their lifetime, while 22 percent said they've lived through worse times.
According to the poll, the economy remains the number-one issue on the public's mind, and six in ten Americans said it is extremely important for the president and Congress to deal with the economy this year.
"That's one reason why Barack Obama's State of the Union speech is likely to focus on the economy," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The belief that the economy is extremely important is the same among high-income Americans and low-income Americans. And income does not affect your view of economic conditions - high-income Americans are just as likely as low-income Americans to say that this is the worst economy they have ever lived through."
Two-thirds of those questioned said that things are going badly in the country today, but that's an improvement over a year ago when 79 percent thought the country was in bad shape
"One bright spot: although most say that the country is in bad shape, three-quarters said things are going well in their personal lives," Holland added.
One in eight think the economy is starting to recover; nearly half think a recovery has not started but that things have stabilized and four in 10 said the country is still in a downturn.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted January 22-24, with 1,009 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report