Soliders on patrol in Iraq (AFP)A record number of Americans are pessimistic about the outcome in Iraq and now believe the war was a mistake, according to a CBS News/New York Times opinion poll out late Thursday.

Seventy-six percent of Americans think the war is going badly, up ten percentage points in one month, according to the poll.

Sixty-one percent of those polled said the United States should have stayed out of Iraq, with only 35 percent saying the invasion was the right thing to do.

Nearly half — 47 percent — of those polled said the war was going very badly, with just 20 percent believing that the recent "surge" of US troops will make a difference.

And a full 72 percent of those polled said the United States is heading on the "wrong track" — the highest percentage recorded since the CBS/NYT pollsters first asked the question in 1983.

According to the poll, six in 10 Americans also want a timetable for US troops to withdraw from Iraq — an issue that was dropped from the war funding bill Congress passed late Thursday.

The poll put President George W. Bush's popularity rating at 30 percent, two points up from his January low of 28 percent.

But the war is losing support among Bush's fellow Republicans, with a majority — 52 percent — saying the war is going at least 'somewhat badly' — a 16-point increase from mid-April.

The telephone poll was conducted among 1,125 adults between May 18-23. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.