WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's approval rating has sunk to a record low, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday night, amid deepening concern over U.S. spying and Obamacare.
Increasing disaffection with Obama goes beyond the government shutdown that an earlier poll found had "badly damaged" the Republican Party, the pollsters said.
"The NBC/WSJ pollsters argue that no single reason explains Obama’s lower poll standing," writes NBC senior political editor Mark Murray. "Rather, they attribute it to the accumulation of setbacks since the summer -- allegations of spying by the National Security Agency, the debate over Syria’s chemical weapons, the government shutdown and now intense scrutiny over the problems associated with the health care law’s federal website and its overall implementation."
Obama's approval rating now stands at 42 percent -- a low in NBC/WSJ's polling. It had hovered in the mid-to-high 40s since April and was 47 percent in early October.
Obama's favorability ratings dropped underwater, with 41 percent viewing him favorably and 45 percent unfavorably. Opinions remain divided over his signature health care law, with 37 percent seeing it as a good idea and 47 percent as a bad idea, somewhat less positive than earlier this month.
Americans were 4 points more likely to say they'd prefer Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress, down from an 8-point lead for Democrats during the shutdown.
The recent drop in presidential approval seen by NBC/WSJ comes after the pollsters measured a higher than average rating for Obama during the shutdown. As a result, Obama's plunge is slightly steeper than the decline measured in other live telephone polls. HuffPost Pollster's average, which includes all publicly available polling, puts Obama's approval rating at about 44 percent.
The public's assessment of Republicans also remains unsparing. Americans were 15 points more likely to blame congressional Republicans for the shutdown than they were to blame Obama. The GOP's rating remains at 53 percent unfavorable, unchanged from a record low. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the tea party movement are all viewed more negatively than positively.
The mood in general is profoundly anti-incumbent. Only 22 percent now think the country is headed in the right direction, up 8 points since the first week of October, but still considerably below what it was before the shutdown. Nearly three-quarters of Americans think Congress contributes to America's problems rather than solving them, and 63 percent say they'd like to elect a new representative in their district, the highest percentage since at least 1992.
The NBC/WSJ poll surveyed 800 adults by phone from Oct. 25 to Oct. 28.