The bad news: Mr. Obama is below 50 percent in most of the battleground states that will determine next year’s election. And this result is from aggregated Gallup tracking data that were taken from January through June of this year, so it does not factor in the high-wire debt-ceiling act, the uptick in unemployment, and the plummeting markets.
Chances are, if each state was polled now, the numbers would be lower. His current Gallup three-day rolling average is 43 percent job approval.
“Currently, a majority of states show approval ratings below 50 percent, though whether Obama is victorious will also depend in part on who his GOP challenger is, whether a significant third-party candidate runs, and the degree to which the president’s supporters turn out to vote,” writes Jeffrey M. Jones of Gallup.
His report also notes that President George W. Bush won reelection in 2004 with a 48 percent national approval rating.
In many battleground states, Obama can take heart that even if he was below 50 percent in the first half of 2011, he was not far off the mark. And in four states where he polled below 50 percent in the first half of 2010, this year he is at or above 50 percent: Maine (50 percent), Michigan (50 percent), Minnesota (52 percent), and Wisconsin (50 percent). Two of those, Michigan and Wisconsin, are considered swing states. Obama is expected to win Maine and Minnesota, though the latter could swing Republican if a Minnesotan wins the GOP nomination.
To win reelection, Obama does not need to win all the battleground states he won in 2008. And for him, that’s good news, because he won’t. His campaign has already reportedly all but given up on Indiana, where Obama’s job approval is 42 percent.
The job approval numbers in other swing states range from tolerable for the president to pretty bad: Colorado (44 percent), Florida (47), Iowa (49), Nevada (44), New Hampshire (40), New Mexico (46), North Carolina (46), Ohio (45), Oregon (44), Pennsylvania (48), and Virginia (46).
Obama’s best state is Connecticut, at 60 percent. (The District of Columbia, which isn’t a state, but which has three electoral votes, clocks in at 83 percent.) His worst state is Idaho, at 27percent.