Obama's low job approval could cost Dems in midterms, poll shows

Dylan Stableford
President Obama Returns To White House After New York Trip
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Barack Obama returns to the White House after a day trip to New York on March 11, 2014 in Washington, D.C. The president attended two fundraisers and shopped at a Midtown Manahattan Gap, highlighting the retailer's policy of paying entry-level employees more than the federal minimum wage. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama may be the most popular "Funny or Die" guest ever, but his low job-approval rating could cost the Democratic Party in midterm elections, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows.

According to the survey, 33 percent of Americans say their vote "will be to signal opposition to the president rather than to signal support." Twenty-four percent say they'll signal support, while 41 percent say their vote will have nothing to do with Obama.

Meanwhile, nearly half (48 percent) of voters polled say they will be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports the administration, while about a quarter (26 percent) say they will be more likely to vote for a pro-Obama candidate.

According to the survey, 41 percent of Americans approve of the president's overall job performance, while 54 percent disapprove — his worst rating in the survey’s history.

Even more good news for the GOP:

Republicans hold a one-point edge over Democrats on which party registered voters prefer to control Congress, 44 percent to 43 percent. While that’s within the poll’s margin of error, Republicans have traditionally fared well in elections when they’ve held a slight lead on this question.


Obama’s current standing isn’t far removed from former President George W. Bush’s position before the 2006 midterms, when Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate and House: The March 2006 NBC/WSJ poll had Bush’s job-approval rating at 37 percent.

“The wind is in our face,” Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster who helped conduct the survey wih Republican pollster Bill McInturff, noted. “There is an advantage for Republicans right now."

McInturff said, "The president is being taken off the field as a Democratic positive. When you have the most powerful person in the world [on the sidelines], that’s a big deal.”

For Democrats looking for a silver lining, there is nary a shred — except that Republicans are not exactly sitting pretty.

Obama's favorability rating (41 percent) may be low, but the GOP's (27 percent) and tea party's (23 percent) are much worse. And a majority of voters said they wish they could replace every sitting member of Congress, the poll found.

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