When President Obama stumps for health reform in Missouri today, some bad polling numbers will be waiting there to greet him. Unfortunately for Democrats, that's not just the case in Missouri: in states with competitive Senate races in 2010, Obama typically collects worse ratings than he does nationally.
In a competitive midterm year, the threat looms that Obama's low ratings will weigh Democratic candidates down.
A whopping 58 percent of Missourians disapprove of the president, while just 41 percent approve, making it one of his worst among states that will see competitive Senate races in 2010. In those states, Obama collects only a few showings above 45 percent. In three states (California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) his approval rating is higher than his disapproval, and in three states (Kentucky, Arkansas, and North Dakota) his approval rating is below 40 percent.
Obama's national approval rating, according to Pollster.com's average, is 48 percent. Obama lost Missouri to John McCain by 3,903 votes in 2008, accounting for a .1 percent difference and making it one of the closest contests of the presidential race.
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, who is running a a close contest in one of Democrats' top Senate races in 2010, won't be in the state for Obama's appearance today--a clear move to distance herself from the president. As analysts ponder that move--and why the president chose Missouri instead of another state--perhaps his low numbers there have something to do with both.
Here is a list of states with top-rated Senate races in 2010, followed by Obama's ratings. Due to a general dearth of state-specific approval polling from multiple firms, most of the results come from Rasmussen, which typically gives Obama lower ratings than other pollsters do. Pollster.com averages are used where they're available.
States are ranked from highest Obama approval to lowest. Ratings are shown as "approval/disapproval":
California - 57/39 (Pollster.com average)
Delaware - 53/41 (Public Policy Polling, Nov. 30-Dec. 3)
Pennsylvania - 49/46 (Quinnipiac, Feb. 22-28)
New Hampshire - 48/49 (Pollster.com average)
Ohio - 46/53 (Pollster.com average)
North Carolina - 45/51 (Pollster.com average)
Indiana - 44/54 (Rasmussen, Feb. 16-17)
Nevada - 44/57 (Rasmussen, March 3)
Colorado - 43/56 (Rasmussen, March 2)
Missouri - 41/58 (Pollster.com average)
North Dakota - 39/58 (Rasmussen, Feb. 9-10)
Arkansas - 38/60 (Rasmussen, March 1)
Kentucky - 37/59 (Rasmussen, March 2)