President Obama plummets to lowest approval ever, 38%, day before address to public on ISIS. President Barack Obama reads briefing material before the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, August 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama hits 38% approval, lowest ever, the day before address to public on ISIS, as public support for bombing in Syria and Iraq hits majority.

President Barack Obama reads briefing material before the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, August 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Just 38 percent now approve of Obama’s handling of international affairs, down 8 percentage points since July to a career low; 56 percent disapprove, a majority for the first time. Fifty-two percent say he’s been too cautious in dealing with Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Syria. And the public is ahead of Obama in support for a military response to that crisis, with 65 percent in favor of extending U.S. air strikes to Syria. [ABC News]

WHAT A difference a year makes, revealing the problem when presidents use public opinion to guide them on foreign policy, which is what happened with President Obama and Syria. Having been elected to end U.S. foreign adventurism, the Obama administration is now seen as “too cautious in dealing with Islamic insurgents in Iraq and Syria,” a lesson for any politician who wants to be president on how quickly the public can turn.

Does that mean that if President Obama makes headway in Syria and Iraq, which begins with his address on Wednesday, with strong action against ISIS he’ll see another flip in his approval? Will it be enough to help Democrats who are running in November? No one knows and we won’t know the mood until late in October, but the new ABC News/Washington Post poll reveals the mood, which is bad for Democrats, but congressional Republicans hit a new low at 20% approval.

Indeed, independents side substantially more with GOP candidates – by 47-35 percent among registered voters.

That puts all the more pressure on Democrats to boost their turnout, or suffer.

At the same time, even with Obama’s problems, Democratic voters in this survey are a bit more energized than their Republican counterparts. Among those who intend to back the Democrat in their district, 71 percent say they’re enthusiastic about doing so. Among those who favor the GOP candidate, fewer, 63 percent, are enthusiastic about it.

The extent of Obama’s impact on the election remains to be seen, but – given his ratings – he’s not helping his party.

Registered voters are more likely to say they’ll be casting their midterm ballot to show opposition to Obama than support for him, by 27 percent vs. 19 percent – not an overwhelming gap, but one similar to the result on Bush in 2006, a sweep year for the out-party.

It’s a very mixed bag for both parties, but the shift with independents, while many Democrats are disgruntled with Obama over immigration, points to real challenges ahead of the November midterms for the President’s party.