The Public Policy Polling survey found that for the first time since July, Obama does not lead Republican front-runner Mitt Romney in the group’s monthly national poll on the 2012 election race.
Obama’s overall approval rating was at 46 percent, with 48 percent of voters disapproving of him.
The president will need independent voters to help carry him to victory in November 2012.
Obama’s approval rating has been in the doldrums because of the 9.2 percent U.S. jobless rate and prolonged wrangling with Congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
“There’s a very good chance Barack Obama would lose if he had to stand for re-election today,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “This is his worst poll standing in a long time and he really needs the economy to start turning around.”