No matter how much President Obama’s team of re-election strategists tries to spin it, voters across the country soured on Obama in 2011, compounding a decline in his job approval ratings that have him deeply under water in his bid for a second term.
A new Gallup survey of Obama’s average approval rating in each state through 2011 found the president sustained year-over-year declines in all but three, with an average overall approval of just 44 percent.
Perhaps most troublesome to Obama’s re-election campaign were the declines sustained in 12 general election battlegrounds.
Support for Obama eroded across the board, with fewer voters than in 2010 approving of his performance on average in Nevada (-5.7 points), Colorado (-4.8 points), Ohio (-5.3 points), Pennsylvania (-1.3), Florida (-2.2) and New Hampshire (-2.6 points), among others.
Only 41.3 percent of voters in Nevada approved of Obama last year, while 40.4 percent approved in Colorado, 42.7 percent approved in Ohio, 45 percent approved in Pennsylvania, 43.6 percent approved in Florida and just 38.7 percent approved of the president’s performance in New Hampshire. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 1 percentage point.
“His approval rating is a key indicator of his electoral vote chances, but it alone will not dictate his success in a given state’s vote,” wrote Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones in a blog post on the survey.
“The electorate in each state represents a smaller share of the population than the larger pool of all state residents on which his approval rating is based, so turnout among his supporters and opponents will be important,” he said. “Also, state residents’ electoral choice will be shaped in part by the choice voters have between Obama and his Republican opponent, and potential third-party candidates.”
The president stayed above the 50 percent mark in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, according to Gallup.
Obama remained most popular in the District, where he averaged 81.1 percent approval last year, followed by his native Hawaii, where 56.1 percent of voters said they approved of the president’s job.
The mid-Atlantic and New England states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Delaware, and New Jersey – traditionally Democratic strongholds — had above average approval ratings for Obama.
The president’s approval rating fared worse last year in the conservative western states of Utah (28.6 percent), Idaho (29.3 percent), and Oklahoma (30.3 percent).
He only gained ground with voters in three states — Wyoming, Connecticut and Maine.