Nightly News   |  October 30, 2013

Obama’s approval rating drops to all-time low

Results from the latest NBC/WSJ poll indicate President Obama, who has been battling various problems for months, is now confronted with a public that is increasingly losing confidence in his leadership. The President’s approval rating has plunged since January, something David Axelrod attributes to Obama’s appearance of detachment on healthcare and the NSA. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>>> the problems with the rollout of the president's health care plan, as you might expect, are having a real political impact for this white house . we are seeing it now in our brand new nbc news/ wall street journal poll. our political director, chief white house correspondent chuck todd at the white house with more on that tonight. chuck, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian . you know the expression -- a pox on both your houses. during the shutdown the public pointed the finger at just one proverbial house when it comes to washington and government dysfunction dr the republicans. but the pox spread to the white house . president obama has been battling various problems for months from syria to the budget, nsa and health care all adds up to the public losing confidence in his leadership. the last thing the president thought he would be doing this far into his second term.

>> hello, boston!

>> reporter: using boston as a backdrop the to do something he struggled to do for years -- sell the public on health care reform .

>> all of this is in place now. it is working right now.

>> reporter: the health care rollout debacle is the latest in a growing list of leadership struggles that have dogged the president. the public had high hopes for his second term. his 52% job approval rating in the january pl poll was near an all-time high for him. it didn't take long oh for things to go south. it started with the benghazi, irs investigations on capitol hill . then the nsa edward snowden leaks raising questions about how much the president may have known. in september, more of a slide because of the president's indecision on whether to attack syria. now between the government shutdown and the bungled health care rollout he hit a low, getting close to george w. bush territory. he was at 39% in his second term. obama biography david mariness sees a pattern.

>> with president obama he works at a different timetable than everybody else. sometimes he's ahead of the curve. sometimes behind the curve. he's right at the curve. he's behind the curve now. the question is if he can get back up.

>> reporter: the in the past even when the president experienced a drop in job rating his likability never took a hit. now more folks view him negatively than positively. david axelrod believes that's due to the appearance of detachment on issues like health care and nsa.

>> he needs to step up his visibility. i have no doubt he's doing it internally. i know how he operates. but the public needs to see it. i think that's driving some of the personal ratings down.

>> they keep saying he's unaware of certain things. the one that strikes me most is health care . people would ask me during his first term what's he doing in the second term. they say health care is it. it's his whole thing.

>> reporter: all of this washington mess, brian , has created a crisis in confidence many in the country. 70% believe we are off on the wrong b track. those are numbers usually seen during an economic downturn. this signals a political depression and congress has grown more unpopular -- 74% believe congress contributes to problems. only 17% believe congress works to solve problems. the old idea that people like their own congressman better than all of congress, not in this poll, brian . 63% would prefer to give a new person a chance to represent them over their own member.

>> chuck todd with where things stand tonight from the white