As President Obama prepares to deliver a major primetime address on combating ISIS, a new poll pegs his approval rating at just 40%. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of 1,000 registered voters, 54 percent said they disapprove of the president's job performance.

The approval rating of only 40% is lower than Bill Clinton in 1994 and George W. Bush in 2006. In both of those years, the midterm elections shifted the balance of power in D.C.

A main focus of the president's address will reportedly be a surge in support to moderate rebels in Syria, as a potential prelude to airstrikes on ISIS bases in the country.

Here's more on the expected announcement from from

The president is expected to make the call for arming moderate Syrian opposition forces in his prime-time address to the nation Wednesday night. 

A White House aide told Fox News the president has already asked congressional leaders, with whom he met late Tuesday, to quickly pass a bill giving him the power to ramp up support to Syrian rebels. The aide said the president is seeking more aid for the rebels so they could be the ground troops in place to support potential U.S. airstrikes. The Obama administration already is pursuing a similar strategy in Iraq, where U.S. airstrikes are backed by Iraqi security forces on the ground -- as opposed to U.S. ground troops. 

The president, based on what he has told congressional leaders behind closed doors, appears unlikely to actually announce airstrikes in Syria during his address. But officials are expecting the president to give his strongest signals yet that he is moving closer to authorizing them. 

A senior official also told The New York Times Obama is willing to order airstrikes inside Syrian territory, despite warnings from Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's government not to do so without their permission. 

Administration officials said Obama will press forward with other elements of his plan without formal authorization from U.S. lawmakers. That could include wide-ranging airstrikes. Other elements of Obama's plan included increased support for Iraqi security forces, as well as military and diplomatic commitments from partners in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere. 

As for aid to rebels, the White House aide told Fox News the administration has existing funds that could be used to escalate support to the Syrian rebels -- including heavy arms -- and then they would come back to Congress for more money down the road. 

The U.S. already has been running a small CIA program to train the rebels, but Obama is seeking approval for a more overt military effort that could involve staging training locations in countries near Syria. Administration officials told the Associated Press Obama also sees a congressional authorization for a Syrian train-and-equip mission as sending a strong signal to allies who are considering similar efforts. 

Martha MacCallum discussed the stunning numbers with digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt, who said it's apparent that the president "badly misjudged" his response to the beheadings of two American journalists by ISIS.

Stirewalt said the president and Democrats are "paying a serious price" for not treating the ISIS beheadings with the necessary seriousness, especially Obama's decision to play a round of golf on vacation right after speaking about the James Foley execution.

Stirewalt said the "detached attitude" and "soft language" toward ISIS displayed a misunderstanding of the American people, whom he said are feeling "deep insecurity" about the threat from ISIS.

For complete coverage of the president's 9p ET address, tune in to Fox News as Mitt Romney goes "On the Record" at 7p ET, followed by a packed "Factor" featuring Rove, Beckel, Miller and MacCallum. Then, follow all of the reaction and analysis with "The Kelly File" and "Hannity," followed by live coverage from Bret Baier.