The Washington Post-ABC News poll also gave the president a 41 percent approval rating, a drop of 5 percentage points from earlier in the year and the lowest this poll has ever found for him. At the same time, 53 percent of respondents said they would like to see a Republican majority in Congress while 49 percent would prefer a Democratic one.
Democrats had a slight edge in how people say they would cast their votes, with 45 percent of registered voters planning to support the a Democratic congressional candidate in the fall compared to 44 percent for the Republicans. But that is the same advantage the Democrats had before the 2010 election when the party lost control of the House.
Republicans have an advantage in mid-term elections because the older white voters who are now the party's base are more likely to turn out.
Respondents gave Obama low marks on his handling of the economy, healthcare and especially foreign policy. Only 34 percent said they approve of his handling of the crisis in Ukraine.
There was some good news for the Democrats. While 40 percent of respondents said they trust the party more on most of the major issues facing the country, only 34 percent trust the Republicans.
Democrats have an especially strong advantage on women's issues, helping the middle class and the minimum wage, and even on healthcare and the economy respondents found the party a bit more trustworthy. Respondents preferred the Republicans on gun control, handling the federal deficit and cutting the federal deficit.
The poll was conducted between Thursday and Sunday with 1,000 adults surveyed. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.