The poll was conducted jointly by Democratic Corps, a Democratic organization, and Third Way, a progressive non-profit organization. It was done mainly to gauge voters' views on Democrats' handling of national security.
The poll also found weaknesses for the Democrats on other issues ahead of November elections, in which they hope to defend their strong majorities in Congress.
The poll found 60 percent of Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track. It also found that people rated Democrats at about the same level as Republicans, in what amounted to an erosion of the advantage Democrats have held.
"We would not want the election to be held today, with this poll," said Democracy Corps' chief pollster Stan Greenberg. "If the election were held today, this would be a 'change' election."
Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, interviewed by Newsweek, shrugged off a question about whether she was worrying about the November elections, saying they are a long way off.
"We can't afford to focus on the day-to-day polls," she said. "If you think that we should second-guess (Obama's) decision to do fundamentally big things, there are plenty of other people who would have been that kind of president. That's not the kind of president he wants to be."
Obama received strong ratings in the poll on his handling of national security challenges such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But, the pollsters said in a memo, "Historical doubts about the Democratic Party on national security show signs of reviving and many voters worry the president and his administration are not dealing forcefully enough with terrorist suspects."
The poll found that the Democrats' gap on national security has widened in the areas of "keeping America safe," "ensuring a strong military" and "making America safer from nuclear threats."
Singled out by the pollsters was the Obama administration's response to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound plane on Christmas Day. (more here)