Republicans may be poised for strong midterm gains, according to a new poll conducted for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.


Republicans hold a two-point lead nationwide on which party registered voters want to see in control of Congress. That lead expands to 10 points in Senate battleground states at 50 to 40 percent in the poll, conducted by Democratic polling firm Hart Research and Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies.

"With 56 days until Election Day, our poll provides greater insight into what is likely to happen, and the news is not good for the Democrats," Democratic pollster Fred Yang writes in an accompanying memo.

President Obama is a huge drag on the party — his approval rating is down to 40 percent with 54 percent disapproving, tied for the lowest number the poll has found in his presidency.

There's also been a major shift on immigration in the last few months, according to the poll, which helps explain why Republicans have been attacking Senate Democrats for supporting "amnesty" in a number of Senate races.

Public approval for giving illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship has narrowed to 53 to 45 percent, down from 64 to 35 percent support in April.

The live-caller poll of 1,000 registered voters, including 35 percent who only have a cellphone, was conducted from Sept. 3 to 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.