President Bush's popularity has plummeted in a month, with nearly 80 percent of Americans saying they feel the country is headed in the wrong direction, a new poll published Tuesday showed.

The Washington Post-ABC News Poll also indicated Americans are losing patience with the handling of the Persian Gulf crisis.Asked if the country is "generally going in the right direction, or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off track," 79 percent said the country was on the wrong track, while 19 percent disagreed.

Forty percent said they disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president, while 56 percent said they approve, 19 percentage points lower than it had been a month ago, the Post said.

The poll surveyed 1,006 adults nationwide Oct. 10-14 and 756 adults nationwide Oct. 5-7. The survey had a margin of error of about 3 percentage points.

The percentage of Americans who believe the economy is worsening increased from 64 percent to 77 percent in the past month. The proportion who disapprove of the way Bush is handling the economy also increased, from 41 percent to a record high of 58 percent in just over a month.

Asked about the nation's economy and the impasse between Bush and Congress over a deficit-cutting budget, 59 percent said they disapproved of Bush's threat to halt non-essential government operations, while 39 percent approved.