Here's one reason House Republicans are pushing for a short-term debt increase before next week's deadline: The GOP's popularity is at an all-time low while President Obama's is rising, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.

“If it were not so bad for the country, the results could almost make a Democrat smile,” Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff, told NBC News. “These numbers lead to one inescapable conclusion: The Republicans are not tone deaf; they are stone deaf.”

Only 24 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the GOP and just 21 percent approve of the Tea Party; both numbers are record lows for the poll.

Meanwhile, President Obama's approval rating is actually two points higher than it was before the shutdown, up to 47 percent from 45 last month (though the increase is within the poll's margin of error), making him the most popular politician in the poll. From NBC News:

Obama – with a 47 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable rating – also is the most popular political figure or institution in the poll, surpassing the Democratic Party (39 percent favorable/40 percent unfavorable); Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas (14 percent favorable/28 percent unfavorable); Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (18 percent favorable/32 percent unfavorable); and House Speaker John Boehner (17 percent favorable/42 percent unfavorable).

At the bottom of the list are the Tea Party (21 percent favorable/47 percent unfavorable) and the Republican Party (24 percent favorable/53 percent unfavorable) – their lowest favorable numbers in the history of the poll.

And while approval ratings are down for the Democratic Party – to 39 percent, from 42 percent last month – the poll found that 47 percent of American voters prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress to a Republican-controlled one. Even “Obamacare” has become more popular during the shutdown, with a 38 percent approval rating, an increase of seven points since last month.

Alas, there is some minor good news for Republicans. From NBC News:

By a 43-percent-to-40 percent margin, the public disagrees with Obama’s position that he will not negotiate with the Republicans until they reopen government and raise the debt ceiling.

But Boehner et al shouldn't get too excited: That three percent difference is also within the poll's margin of error.

[Image via AP]