The decline in President Barack Obama's popularity has heightened the vulnerability of his fellow Democrats in this fall's congressional elections, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The survey shows that just 41 percent of Americans approve of Obama's job performance, a record low for his time in the White House. An endorsement from the sixth-year presidential incumbent would make 42 percent of Americans less likely to vote for a congressional candidate, while it would make only 22 percent more likely to support a candidate.
(Read more: Obama 2014: Not your year (so far): Poll)
"The president's being taken off the field as a Democratic positive," said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducts the NBC/WSJ poll with his Democratic counterpart Peter Hart. To maximize their chance at survival, "the Democrats are going to run under the Tip O'Neill mantra, 'All politics is local,'" Hart said.
The causes of the decline have grown familiar after a cascade of governmental turmoil in 2013. Fully 65 percent of Americans say the country is "on the wrong track." Despite economic growth that averaged 2.5 percent per quarter last year, 57 percent say they believe the country remains in a recession.