From NBC's Mark Murray
Here's our take on the latest NBC/WSJ poll:
WASHINGTON - For much of his first year in office, President Barack Obama has largely defied political gravity in the midst of skyrocketing unemployment, an ambitious legislative agenda and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
His approval rating remained above 50 percent, a plurality viewed his party positively, and even the number believing the country was on the right track — despite the bad news — temporarily spiked during his first few months on the job.
But now nearing the end of his first year in office, the economy, the wars and the legislative skirmishes finally have taken a toll on the president and his party, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
For the first time, Obama's overall job approval rating has fallen below 50 percent (to 47 percent). In addition, for the first time since Sept. 2007, a plurality (45 percent) sees the Democratic Party in a negative light. And the percentage believing the country is on the wrong track (55 percent) is at its highest level in the Obama presidency.
"This survey underscores what I consider a dramatic and unmistakable change in the political landscape," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff. "For Democrats, the red flags are flying at full mast."
"The sagging economy is beginning to drag him down," McInturff added. "This is increasingly becoming President Obama's economy."