President Obama is still personally popular with voters, but approval of his party continues to slip and galvanize support for Republicans, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll shows. Voters are split 41%-41% on which party should control Congress after November—the first time voters haven't favored Democrats in this poll since 2003. Republicans also seem more eager to vote: 55% said they were very excited about the November election, while only 38% of Democrats said the same.
Three-fourths of voters say they like Obama, but only 48% approve of his job performance, a steep fall from the 60% of his early days. And 27% were "pessimistic and worried" about his presidency, versus 9% a year ago. "This president came in under extremely difficult circumstances, but the expectations were Rooseveltian, and he has been far more ordinary," said pollster Peter Hart. "They like him, but year two will determine whether they see him as the leader to solve our problems rather than just a charming, charismatic, and good person."