TODAY   |  December 11, 2013

New poll shows record disapproval for Obama

The president is under fire, primarily for the problems associated with the Affordable Healthcare Act, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>> to washington , president obama returned to the white house early this morning following his brief trip to south africa . we'll have more on that in a moment. but first, a bipartisan budget deal has been reached to avoid another government shutdown . chuck todd , nbc's political director and chief white house correspondence has the details on that and a new poll. good morning.

>> a new poll. it's not the grand bargain people were hoping for or a solution to the long-term fiscal problems but the fact that the federal government might not shutdown for two years is a start.

>> reporter: a rare moment of bipartisanship on capitol hill . paul ryan representing republicans announcing a budget deal tuesday taking the prospect of a government shutdown off the table for two years.

>> this bill reduces the deficit by $23 billion and it does not raise taxes and it cuts spending in a smarter way.

>> it is an important step in helping to heal some of the wounds here in congress.

>> reporter: the deal couldn't have come at a better time. our nbc news wall street journal poll shows a majority of americans called this congress one of the worst ever. and as president obama returns to washington today, our poll shows he has hit a record low. 54% of americans disapprove of mr. obama 's job performance. the worst rating of his presidency. what is driving americans opinions of the president? while mr. obama 's confronted a lot of tough and unpopular issues in 2013 his current plight is driven almost entirely by health care . 58% say it's the factor and perhaps more troubling for the white house , 50% of those polled say they are disappointed or dissatisfied with the obama presidency. just 28% say they're proud or satisfied. we recently sat down with a focus group of swing voters in ohio, most of whom voted for obama in 2012 . their disappointment is pappelable.

>> he lost focus. he lost focus on his goals.

>> he has done a lot of things but turned out to be just another politician.

>> i think he botched the affordable care act .

>> reporter: and they're at a complete loss on how to actually punish either party for the dysfunction in washington .

>> it seems like you want to punish everybody but not reward anybody. so how do you punish washington ?

>> i think it's part of the anger and frustration is there's not an easy way to do that.

>> i just want them to make it work. i don't know how to convince them to do that.

>> so your poll really reflects this sentiment, president obama has his worst disapproval rating. health care is the main driver.

>> the whole driver.

>> presidents have these moments in their second term. the question is can he recover from it?

>> you look at reagan, clinton, bush, two of them recovered. all four of them hit this moment. one of them dinlt with bush. it's interesting. a lot of people make the comparison is health care president obama 's katrina? and there's certainly a lot of evidence to say it's working the same way. you see the same drop in approval rating , favorability. but president bush had katrina and iraq and a bad economy. for the president if he turns around health care it could be like what happened with clinton. he only had to deal with lewinsky because the economy was improving and that could save the president.

>> yeah, let me ask you about this budget deal. i know, the government isn't going to shutdown. but paul ryan was the negotiator and has a lot of street cred .

>> be you wouldn't have known it last night.

>> is it going to pass?

>> yes. is it probably going to end up passing with more democrats than republicans even though paul ryan , this is no liberal republican . this is not a republican in name only but there's a lot of conservatives out there already trashing it. marco rubio , the senator from florida, might run for president, 20 minutes after the deal was announced he puts out a release saying he is against the deal. this had to do with republican primary politics and nothing to do with the deal itself. so i think conservatives might make it very hard for some republicans to vote for this deal.

>>> 20 seconds, raul castro , president obama exchanging a handshake at this memorial service for mandela. what is the white house saying about this because the president has been criticized for this?

>> they're saying a handshake is just a handshake. we have all been to funerals where you have people you don't like that show up at a funeral. you don't air your grievances at the funeral and that's what the white house is saying. he shook hands i. was the polite