Poll: Obama approval rating sinks to new low

President Obama's job approval hit a new low of 40 percent in an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday, as the public expressed widespread disappointment in the state of the country.

Fifty-four percent disapprove of his performance, with 6 percent unsure.

Obama received poor marks for both foreign policy and on the economy, a troubling sign for the president and Democrats with only three months before the midterm elections.

Respondents rated Obama's handling of foreign policy even lower, with 36 percent approving, also an all-time low for the president. The figure is 2 points lower than his previous low in April. 

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Obama has faced a range of foreign policy crises in recent months, in Ukraine, Gaza, Syria and Iraq.

His handling of the economy was not much higher, at 42 percent, despite recent positive economic indicators and an unemployment rate falling to 6.2 percent.

Forty-nine percent say the country is in a recession, though that is down from 58 percent in June 2013. 

The poll found widespread pessimism about the future. Seventy-six percent of adults said they were not confident that their children's generation will be better off than this one, up from 63 percent in 2012. 

Adults do not see the economic problems as unsolvable if Washington shapes up, though. Seventy-one percent said economic problems are mostly because of "the inability of elected officials in Washington to get things done to help improve the economy."

As for lawmakers in Washington, the public views Republicans in Congress less favorably than Democrats. Republicans are at 19 percent favorable, 54 percent unfavorable, while Democrats are at 31 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable.  

That disparity does not appear to be brightening Democrats midterm hopes, though. Forty-four percent say they prefer a Republican-controlled Congress, compared to 43 percent for Democrats. That's similar to the 1-point Democratic lead on the question in August 2010, before Republicans won a wave election. 

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