President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are suffering with independent voters, a new, independent poll found Monday.

The latest edition of the Marist Poll found that independent voters had soured on the president in recent months, and wish to use this fall's midterm elections to send a message to the president and congressional Democrats. 

A 47-44 plurality of voters said they disapproved of the job Obama is doing, according to a nationwide poll, that also showed nine percent undecided.

But the most noted shift may be among independents, of whom 57 percent said they disapprove of Obama's job performance and 29 percent say they approve. Those numbers are virtually the inverse of independents' view of the president in Marist's April 8, 2009 poll, which found independents approving of Obama, 53-28.

Obama, according to the latest poll, also faces woes with independent voters:

  • 53 percent say he's fallen below their expectations as president.
  • 45 percent said he's changed the U.S. for the worst; 24 percent say he's affected no change
  • 52 percent have an unfavorable impression of the president

Independents do give Obama some leeway, however. 55 percent told the Marist poll they think that the current economic conditions were largely inherited by Obama, as opposed to 33 percent who blame Obama's policies for the current conditions.

But on the generic congressional ballot, 61 percent of independent voters -- and 56 percent of voters overall -- said that this fall's congressional elections should be about sending a message to Washington, rather than about local issues.

Of those who said the elections are about sending a message to D.C., 21 percent said it about sending a message to Obama, 32 percent said it was about congressional Democrats, and 18 percent said it was about Republicans in Congress.

The Marist Poll, conducted Feb. 1-3, has a 3.5 percent margin of error.