(CNN) – President Barack Obama is contending with the lowest approval rating of his 20-month presidency, a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll finds.
The president's approval rating now stands at 42 percent – an all time low in CNN polling and 8 points lower than where Obama was only three weeks ago. Moreover, 56 percent of all Americans think the president has fallen short of their expectations. (More poll results)
The president's sagging poll numbers couldn't come at a worse time for congressional Democrats, themselves facing a nine-point deficit in the so-called "generic ballot" question heading into the midterm elections. In fact, the president's approval rating is the same as that of President Clinton's in 1994 – the midterm election year that saw Republicans wrest control of both the House and Senate.
In even worse news for congressional Democrats, likely voters say they are considerably more likely to vote for a candidate the president opposes than one he supports. On the other hand, 50 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for a Tea Party-backed candidate while a third of Americans said Tea Party support would dissuade their vote for a candidate.
Still, the president can take some solace in the fact several past presidents have been beset by slumping numbers at the 2-year mark: In addition to Clinton, both Reagan and Jimmy Carter found their support at 42 percent at this point in their first term. Of course, Clinton and Reagan went on to big reelection wins only two years later.