It’s been a tough summer for swing-district Democrats seeking reelection in 2012 with a president at the top of the ticket whose approval ratings are in the weeds.

As these members begin to focus on their reelection bids after Labor Day, they are increasingly calculating how close is too close to an unpopular President Obama.

Take Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who represents a district that nearly went for Republican George W. Bush in 2004. In a recent local TV interview, DeFazio said of Obama that the word “fight” isn’t “in his vocabulary” — and he then repeated the criticism to constituents at a town hall. Or Rep. Bill Owens, D-N.Y., who won a Republican-friendly district in a special election last year and pointedly declined to endorse the sitting president last week.

The president’s dismal poll ratings, should they continue into next year, could sink Democratic hopes for reclaiming ground in the House and retaining control of the Senate — especially in battleground states and swing districts.

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