Slightly more than half of U.S. residents now approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, up 11 points from his lowest career rating a year ago. The new approval rating is the highest the president has seen in more than two and a half years, according to a new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post.

Obama’s approval rating has jumped six points since July, with 45 percent now disapproving of his job performance. Improving economic sentiment is likely behind the spike in Obama’s approval rating, according to the poll. Obama’s announcement that he wants to keep troops in Afghanistan despite a removal deadline of 2016 also helped him in the polls — 50 percent approved of the decision, while 39 percent disapproved.

The poll was conducted last week by Langer Research Associates, a research and data evaluation firm based in New York. The poll also found that 59 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the job Democrats are doing in Congress. Approval ratings for Republicans in Congress were even worse.

Some 71 percent of Americans don’t approve of the job congressional Republicans are doing, according to the poll. Six out of 10 people polled said Republicans' inability to select a new House of Representatives speaker signals dysfunction in the House. About four out of 10 Republicans polled thought the battle to find a new leader was a sign of dysfunction.

John Boehner announced last month he would resign as speaker. The Ohio Republican has long faced pressure from conservatives to fight the Obama administration, according to NBC News.

It remains unclear as to who will be the next speaker. The GOP has been split between moderates and hard-line conservatives in the House. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is thought to be the best choice for speaker and to bring together the two factions within the party.