Obama Job Approval: Highest in D.C., Hawaii, Vermont

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Lowest rating in Wyoming

PRINCETON, NJ -- From the time Barack Obama took office as president until the end of June, 63% of Americans, on average, approved of the job he was doing. The breakdown of his half-year approval ratings at the state level shows that Obama's approval rating was above 50% in all but two states, Wyoming and Alaska. His highest approval ratings were in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Vermont, Maryland, and Massachusetts.

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Gallup tracks Obama's overall job approval ratings each day as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. The large number of interviews conducted nationally -- more than 80,000 from Jan. 21 through June 30 -- allow Gallup to analyze the opinions of selected subgroups, including residents of each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Each state's data are weighted to Census-based demographic and regional parameters to be representative of the state's adult population. The accompanying map shows where Obama's support was higher and lower on a relative basis, by state.


Since June, Obama's approval rating has descended into the 50s, sinking as low as 52% in late July before recovering somewhat and settling back in the mid- to upper 50s in recent days. An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily data collected in July and August suggests that Obama's approval rating has declined in most states compared with the January-June averages. While the recent state approval ratings are lower than those reported here, the relative rank ordering of states is largely similar.

In general, state patterns of support for Obama follow the political orientations of the states. For the most part, the states that Gallup classified as "solidly Democratic" (based on the party affiliation and leaning of its residents in the first half of the year) had approval ratings at or above the national average of 63%. The four states Gallup identified as being "solidly Republican" -- Wyoming, Alaska, Utah, and Idaho -- gave Obama his lowest average approval ratings. But even in these four states, his approval rating exceeded his disapproval rating.


Obama's poorest performance in a solidly Democratic state was in West Virginia, which had an average 51% approval rating. His worst showing in a competitive state was 52% in Montana, while his best showing in a competitive state was 63% in North Dakota.

North Dakota also gave Obama his highest approval rating of any state he did not carry in the 2008 presidential election. Obama's lowest approval rating in a state he won is Colorado's 55%.

Gallup.com's "State of the States" series reveals state-by-state differences on political, economic, and wellbeing measures Gallup tracks each day, based on data collected between January and June 2009. To see all stories published in the midyear 2009 series, click here. New stories will be released throughout the month of August.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 81,022 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 21-June 30, 2009, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

Margins of error for most states are ±3 or ±4 percentage points, but are as high as ±10 for the District of Columbia and ±8 for Wyoming.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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