To start with, even though it’s true that Obama is more popular that Congressional Republicans, it’s unclear whether his popularity will survive a protracted fight with Republicans over sequestration. Even if more Americans place the blame on Congress, any anti-Washington sentiment that arises from sequestration is likely to affect Obama too, because at least a subset of the public will think it reflects poorly on his leadership. Though it’s by no means conclusive, Sunday’s Gallup tracking poll had Obama’s approval rating down to 46 percent, the lowest since last September. …

Bottom line: a protracted sequestration battle will make it harder for Obama to advance his agenda in 2013 and could erode his popularity — and historical precedent argues against the idea that he’ll be in a stronger position to enact his legislative agenda after 2014.