President Obama's approval numbers have been inching lower all summer. But they are far from uniform across the 50 states. Where is he most popular?
Not surprisingly, in the Northeast, specifically New England, and in two jurisdictions that know him best: His home state of Hawaii and his current residence, Washington DC. According to Gallup's January-June tracking numbers, which do not reflect Obama's recent downturn, the president is at 92 percent approval in DC, and above 70 percent in eight other states, including Hawai'i, where his approval rating is 75 percent.
His worst-performing area is in the Big Sky states: Wyoming, Alaska, Idaho and Utah are the only four states where he is at 50 percent or below.
Why are his numbers dropping? The short answer is public anxiety about whether Obama is trying to do too much too fast in general, and the economy, government spending, and his health care proposal in particular. Given the problems he inherited, Obama was given a wide birth and a long honeymoon period to start his presidency. But that honeymoon period is coming to a close, no matter what Hawaiians think.
What's going to be interesting to watch is how the White House handles the pressure and adversity in the coming months. The president faces a major policy test on health care, but this is also a period when his political operation will be tested as much if not more. Look for David Axelrod to step things up.