Reporting from Washington — President Obama suffered an across-the-board decrease in popularity throughout the country in 2010 according to state-by-state data released by Gallup on Wednesday.
In only a dozen states is the president's approval rating above 50%, the information shows, and in 10 states his approval rating is lower than 40%. In no state did his approval rating rise last year, and the most severe drops occurred in "red states" carried by Sen. John McCain in 2008 and battlegrounds he will need to win in 2012 to earn re-election.
Vermont registered the biggest dip in presidential job approval — 15.2% lower in 2010 than in 2009. It was followed by Arizona, where the Obama administration's lawsuit challenging the state's illegal-immigration law made the political environment even more toxic for Democrats.
For the second consecutive year, Obama's native state of Hawaii offers him the most support, with 66% of voters approving of his job performance. Maryland (58%), New York (57%), Delaware (56%) and Massachusetts (55%) round out the top five. Eight of 12 states where Obama's approval rating is above the national average are in the northeast region.
Obama is least popular in Wyoming, where just 28% of voters approve of his performance. Gallup found that five of the top 10 least approving states were in the West, including Idaho (32%), Utah (34%), Montana (39%) and Alaska (39%).
A job approval rating is only one factor — albeit an important one — in determining the strength of a president seeking re-election. Gallup finds that in the perennial swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio and Nevada, Obama's approval rating is within one point of the national average of 47%.
Gallup's data are based on telephone interviews throughout 2010 with a random sample of 179,503 adults in all 50 states. The margins of error vary in each state based on the number of individuals contacted.