ABC News' Amy Bingham reports:
In a year marked by slow economic recovery and a highly contentious debate over the new health care law, 47 percent of Americans, on average, approved of the job President Obama was doing according to data released today by the Gallup Organization. That’s down 11 percent from 2009.
Residents of the District of Columbia and Hawaii, where Obama was born, were most approving of the President, with average ratings of 84 percent and 66 percent, respectively.
Regionally, President Obama received the highest approval ratings in the Northeast. Five of the top ten most approving states were New York, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, all of which gave him an approval rating of 54 percent or higher.
Half of the least approving states were in the West. Obama’s ratings in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, and Montana were all below 40 percent with a meager 28 percent of people in Wyoming saying they approved of the job the president is doing.
Residents in 20 states gave Obama approval ratings within 3 percentage points of the national average, providing an interesting picture of where the most vivacious campaigning could take place during the 2012 election. These battleground states are likely to include Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, and Nevada – in all of those states, the president’s approval rating fell within one percentage point of the national average.
Two states that were pivotal in the 2008 election, Wisconsin and Ohio, could present challenges this go-around as both have approval ratings below 50 percent. Wisconsin’s dropped 10 percent since 2009 to 48 percent. On average, 47 percent of people in the Buckeye State approved of the President in 2010, down 8 percent from the previous year.
Obama’s ratings went down in every state compared to last year. Vermont saw the largest change, dropping 15 percentage points since 2009 to 52 percent. Mississippi changed the least with 5 percent fewer people approving of the Commander-in-Chief.
Since taking office, President Obama’s highest approval rating was 76 percent, according to a CNN poll in February 2009. His lowest was 41 percent in August 2010 according to Gallup. Comparatively, George W. Bush’s average approval rating while in office was 49 percent. An average of 70 percent of residents approved the job John F. Kennedy was doing while he was in the Oval office.