Will Obama drag down Democrats in 2014?

The president's agenda could cause problems for members of his own party

The President's approval ratings in New York have dropped by 10 percent since February.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Obama's hope to salvage his second-term agenda by helping Democrats win control of Congress appears to have run into trouble already. Obama's approval ratings shot up after he won re-election in November, but the honeymoon is already showing signs of fizzling. A new Siena College poll found that Obama now has the approval of 56 percent of New Yorkers — still high, but down significantly from his February rating of 66 percent. Could Obama wind up weighing down Democrats, instead of lifting them to victory?

Winning full control of Congress, which would entail holding on to the Senate and picking up a net total of 17 seats in the House, is "a feat that could make the difference between limping to the end of his presidency and going out with a bang," says Alex Isenstadt at Politico. Some Democratic candidates and operatives, however, say that "the message and issues Obama has emphasized since the election are creating a difficult political headwind" in the districts likely to decide which party gets control of the House.

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Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.