Clouds fill the sky in front of the US Capitol on October 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Clouds fill the sky in front of the US Capitol on October 7, 2013 in Washington, DC.

Story highlights

50% of registered voters say they would prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress

President Donald Trump's job-approval rating is now at 41%, according to an NBC News/WSJ poll

Washington CNN —  

Half of registered voters want a Democratic-controlled Congress, according to a new poll, signaling a competitive 2018 midterm election season in which Democrats will aim to gain back control of both chambers of Congress.

Fifty percent of registered voters say they would prefer Democrats control Congress, while 39 want Republicans in charge, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday.

The findings mark the biggest congressional preference for Democrats in the poll since 2008, when Barack Obama was elected President and the party made gains in both the House and Senate, NBC News reported.

The poll comes on the heels of the Alabama Senate race, where Democrat Doug Jones pulled out a surprising victory over Republican Roy Moore. A Democrat had not won in Alabama in about a quarter century, and Democrats see the victory as a promising sign going into 2018.

RELATED: These states could be the next Alabama

The poll also finds that 59% of Democratic voters say they have a high level of interest in the 2018 midterms, compared with 49% of Republican voters. Democrats will hope to turn this enthusiasm into votes and turnout come 2018 as they try to win back the House and Senate.

Another key takeaway from the poll: President Donald Trump’s job approval rating ticked up 3 percentage points, to 41%, since the last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in October. In the new poll, 56% of Americans say they disapprove of the President’s job performance, but those who “strongly disapprove” (48%) outnumber those who “strongly approve” (24%) two to one.

The NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll was conducted December 13-15 and consisted of 900 adults, nearly half of whom were reached by cell phone.

The poll has an overall margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, and a margin of error among the 736 registered voters of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.