DC Loves Obama, Rest of the Country Not So Much

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How's our president doing?

If you lived inside the Beltway, you may have gotten a distorted picture of how he was perceived in 2010.

A Gallup survey released Wednesday found that residents of the District of Columbia gave President Obama a higher level of support last year than any other measured jurisdiction.

The president's home state of Hawaii gave him the the highest average job approval rating in 2010 -- 66 percent -- of any of the 50 states, surpassed only by the 84 percent approval he found in Washington, D.C.

Yes, yes, we know: D.C. is a city, not a state, and other major cities within measured states likely also would have shown high levels of support for the president if compared in a head-to-head matchup. The survey in the end shows little more than that the District is a Democratic stronghold. Still, 84 percent is a high figure, even for a stronghold.

And it's significant, because D.C. is the seat of government, the epicenter for American political journalism, and the place a lot of opinion makers socialize with like-minded sorts.

Also, the state with the second highest approval of Obama's 2010 performance was D.C. neighbor Maryland, where many government workers and contractors live, along with journalists and political consultants. Obama's 58 percent 2010 approval in the state was even higher in 2009; that number represents a drop-off of nearly 11 percent.

Virginia, for its part, was not as keen on the president last year. Approval of Obama there dropped 11 percent between 2009 and 2010, down to 47 percent.

In only 12 states did approval of the president top 50 percent. No word on what the figure was in the Northern Virginia suburbs that abut D.C.

The 2010 approval averages were based on data from daily tracking and other interviews Gallup conducted from January through December 2010 that reached 179,000 people.

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Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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