Signs point to true dissatisfaction with the president's performance, rather than greater polarization between those who love and hate the president. Only 21 percent of those polled strongly approve of the job the president is doing, down from 20 percent in January. Only 43 percent of Democrats strongly approve of Obama's job performance.

Undoubtedly, Republicans feel more passionately about the president — a fact that could affect voter turnout in the coming election. Seventy-four percent of Republicans strongly disapprove of the president, meaning there is a 31-point disparity between the parties.

Still, there are a few encouraging signs for Obama. His "strongly approve" numbers are actually up from August, and his jobs plan seems like a hit with his base. More than 80 percent of both Democrats and liberals support the plan.