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Obama’s approval anemic in Southern states with Senate contests

Gallup finds that in all five Southern states with competitive 2014 Senate races, Obama’s approval rating falls below 50 percent

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

southern states smWASHINGTON (CFP) — Incumbent Southern Senate Democrats fighting to stay in office in 2014 are facing a strong headwind — President Barack Obama’s weak approval ratings across the region.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

In the four Southern states with competitive Senate races now held by Democrats — Louisiana, North Carolina, Arkansas and West Virginia — Obama’s approval rating falls below 50 percent — in some cases, well below, according to polling from the Gallup organization.

The worst news for Democrats comes in West Virginia, where just 25 percent of voters approval of Obama’s performance, and Arkansas, where the figure is a tad under 35 percent.

Voters in only one state — Wyoming — have a more negative view of Obama than West Virginians, where Republican U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is hoping to capture a Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller.

In Arkansas, Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Pryor is facing a stiff challenge from GOP U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton.

The news for Democrats is somewhat better in Louisiana, where Obama’s approval is at 40 percent, and North Carolina, where it is at 43 percent. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan are seeking re-election in those states.

Meanwhile, in Kentucky, where Democrats have high hopes of knocking off Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Obama’s approval rating is a weak 35 percent.

Over in Virginia, where Republicans think they have an outside chance of defeating Democratic U.S. Senator John Warner, Obama’s approval stands at about 46 percent, about what it is nationwide.

In none of the 14 Southern states is Obama’s approval rating above 50 percent. He performs best in Florida, at just under 47 percent, and Virginia — the only two Southern states that Obama carried in both 2008 and 2012.

Gallup’s results are based on more than 178,000 daily tracking interviews conducted nationwide in ut 2013. Each state’s sample had a minimum of 500 respondents; Gallup interviewed at least 1,000 residents in 40 states.

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