Much as I can understand the reaction to Congress, I must admit that that nonetheless strikes me as low. Every other poll I've seen has hovered around 12 percent. However, PPP has a very good reputation was its accuracy, so who am to say it's not so. Mind you, a generic rating of Congress never takes into consideration which party is more the cause of that low rating, but given how most polls have shown the Republican Party far lower in appreciate than Democrats, its reasonable to think they're pushing down the numbers the most.
Also in the polls, PPP notes that "President Obama isn't doing too well either. Only 46% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 50% who disapprove..." While I agree that that isn't good, life tends to be best viewed in perspective, and these results mean his approval is almost EIGHT TIMES higher than Congress. Mind you, that's not eight points higher, which would be noteworthy, but eight times.
I suspect that a general bitterness at Washington, from the government shutdown and edge of financial disaster with the debt limit impacts everyone, including the president. But when your approval is 40 points higher, well...if this were an election, it would be the most spectacular landslide in American history.