One of the most important facts to remember heading into the election year is that President Obama could not even defend his own Senate seat in 2010. Illinois has gone to the Democrats in five straight presidential elections since 1992, when Bill Clinton was the first Democrat to win the Land of Lincoln since Harry S. Truman in 1948. The last four contests haven't been close, with the liberal party winning with at least 54 percent every time. Native son Barack took a huge 62 percent against Arizona Sen. John McCain in 2008. For the sitting president's old seat to go to Republican Mark Kirk last year was a warning: If Illinois votes in elephants, anywhere can.
A tour around the Great Lakes shows that Mr. Obama's prospects aren't much better elsewhere in the region. In Michigan, which also has gone Democratic in five straight national elections, 65 percent of likely voters disapprove of the job this president has done; he beat Mr. McCain by 16 points there in 2008. In Wisconsin, 51 percent of cheeseheads disapprove of him. Mr. Obama lost the Ohio primary to Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2008 and currently has a dangerous 53 percent disapproval rate in the Buckeye State. His 42 percent approval in Ohio is the lowest of his presidency (so far).
Even Minnesota is in play, with his positive poll numbers hovering slightly over 50 percent. Indiana, which shockingly went for the first black president last time, hadn't voted for a Democrat for the White House in more than four decades. Today, over 60 percent of Hoosiers disapprove of Mr. Obama, signaling certain upcoming doom for him in their state.
Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin all repudiated Mr. Obama by electing Republicans statewide in the 2010 midterm elections. So did Pennsylvania, which locals have considered an honorary part of the Midwest since Penn State University joined the Big Ten athletic conference in 1990. In the Keystone State, 54 percent of voters disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing. Last year, Minnesota - the most reliably liberal vote in the Great Lakes - only elected a Democratic governor with less than half of 1 percent of over 2 million votes cast. Mr. Obama carried all these major states in 2008 and would lose most - if not all - of them if the presidential election were held today. These places are considered important swing states, and they're now swinging to the right.
These Midwestern trends extend further south and west to states such as Missouri and Iowa, where the president's disapproval rating sits at 54 percent and 53 percent, respectively. Mr. Obama's vast unpopularity in the Midwest mirrors his lack of support in most parts of the land. Nationwide, 88 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going, according to Gallup. The president's support is even below 50 percent in California. In 2012, so go the Great Lakes, so goes the country. That's bad news for Barack.
Brett M. Decker is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. He is coauthor of the forthcoming book “Bowing to Beijing” (Regnery, November 2011).
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