Only 32 percent of the 1,035 respondents rated the economy as doing well and two-thirds said most of the economic news they have heard recently was negative, CNN reported.
More than half said they expect the economy to be in bad shape a year from now.
By some standards, the economy has improved this year. The stock market has set multiple records, unemployment is at a five-year low point and the housing market is rebounding.
But those statistics do not represent the underemployed, the long-term unemployed and those who have never entered the stock market, CNN said.
CNN and ORC conducted telephone surveys Dec. 16-19. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.