A new Gallup Poll finds President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped in all 50 states, with his highest approval still in Hawaii and Washington, DC and his rock bottom rating in Wyoming:
Residents of Hawaii gave native son President Barack Obama the highest average 2010 job approval rating (66%) of any of the 50 states, surpassed only by the 84% Obama received in the District of Columbia. Obama’s lowest average state approval rating in 2010 was 28% in Wyoming.
Half of the 10 most approving states in 2010 were located in the Northeast: New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Three exceptions were Maryland, California, and Obama’s home state of Illinois. All of these states tilt significantly more Democratic in terms of political party identification than the national average.
Five of the 10 least approving states in 2010 were in the West: Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, and Montana. The other least approving states were mostly in the middle of the country, including Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Kansas.
Gallup provides some more data and gives this bottom line:
President Obama’s average job approval rating fell from 58% to 47% between 2009 and 2010. This nationwide average obscures significant differences across the 50 states of the Union. Obama’s average job approval in 2010 ranged from about two-thirds approval in one state (Hawaii) to well under one-third approval in another (Wyoming). More broadly, the president enjoyed 50% or higher approval in a group of 12 traditionally Democratic states, plus the District of Columbia. At the same time, he suffered average approval rates of 43% or less in 18 other states, most of which are traditionally “red” states.
A look at the 20 states in which Obama’s approval rating is within three points of the national average may well provide a preview of where the most intense campaigning will occur in the coming 2012 presidential election. Most presidential elections are fought over the so-called swing states, whose voters can tilt enough in one political direction or the other to make their state competitive. Obama’s 2010 presidential approval ratings would suggest that states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, and Nevada — all of which have average Obama approval ratings within one point of the national average — may once again be the battlegrounds of the coming election.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.