WASHINGTON - His name is not on the ballot, but with Republicans on the rise, Barack Obama has a strong incentive to battle hard for Democrats in November's mid-term elections.
But the president who twice carried his party to the White House may struggle to find a candidate willing to stand with him.
His diminished personal brand and the unpopularity of his health care law are becoming millstones to Democratic candidates - even as he warns the party faces a walloping unless its activists wake up.
Obama often complains that Congress has thwarted his plan to grow the economy since Republicans seized the House of Representatives in 2010.
But the past will be but a grim prologue of his final two White House years if, as appears to be increasingly likely, Republicans grab the Senate in November.
With a unified Republican Congress, Obama would have only a veto pen to protect his legacy. He could also face a torrent of congressional probes and scrutiny designed to exhaust his administration.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll this week showed why Obama may be a liability for Democrats on the stump.
His approval rating dipped to 41 per cent, a new low - and his disapproval number among Democrats climbed to 20 per cent - casting doubt on hopes he could boost Democratic turnout.
Republican pollster Bill McInturff told NBC News the president was being "taken off the field" for November.
Unpopularity is nothing new for second-term presidents.
Six years in, most administrations are low on gas, have seen their brightest stars depart and are often ravaged by scandal.
In Obama's case, the health care law that cost so much capital to pass remains a political liability.
And Republicans, who need six seats to recapture the Senate, have fertile territory on which to work.