A majority of residents in 13 states and the District of Columbia approved of the job Barack Obama did as president during the first six months of 2012. His highest ratings by state were in Hawaii (63%) and Rhode Island (58%), in addition to the 83% approval from District of Columbia residents. In 16 states, his approval rating averaged below 40%, with residents of Utah, Wyoming, and Alaska least approving.
The 13 states and District of Columbia with majorities approving of Obama's job performance in the first half of 2012 is a slight increase from Obama's 2011 totals, as all 10 states with 50% or greater approval in 2011 remained at that level and were joined by Rhode Island, Washington state, and Minnesota. Additionally, Obama's approval rating fell just below the majority significant approval threshold in Michigan and Wisconsin, two key swing states this presidential election year. Six other states had approval ratings of 46% or 47%.
The 50% approval mark is because post-World War II incumbent presidents who have been above 50% job approval on Election Day were easily re-elected. Presidents with approval ratings below 50% have more uncertain re-election prospects. Historically, two presidents below 50% in their final approval rating before the election -- George W. Bush and Harry Truman -- won, and three, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush, lost.
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