The State of the Union has come and gone, but what was the state of President Barack Obama’s job performance?
According to Gallup, which has tracked presidential job approval ratings since the days of Truman, Obama’s fifth year in office was among the most polarizing in history, with just 11 percent average Republican approval and 82 percent average Democrat approval throughout 2013.
It was only slightly less polarizing than Obama’s fourth year in office, which earned the top spot for the most polarizing presidential year in history. (Don’t worry, Democrats: President George W. Bush is right there with Obama in the rankings. The nation’s 44th and 43rd presidents presided over nine of the top 10 most polarizing years ever, with Bill Clinton’s fourth year squeaking in for the bottom spot).
In Maine, Obama’s job approval rating in 2013 was just 44.9 percent. In fact, almost 2 percent more Mainers disapproved of Obama’s performance in 2013, with 46.7 percent saying they thought the president had done a bad job. Another 8.4 percent said they had no opinion. Obama’s nationwide job approval rating last year was 46.5 percent.
For comparison, an average of more than 80 percent of D.C.’s residents approve of Obama’s job performance in 2013. Among the states, Hawaii viewed the president most favorably last year, with an average approval rating of 61.3 percent. Only 11 states gave Obama a job approval rating higher than 50 percent.
On the flip side, less than three in ten survey respondents approved of Obama’s 2013 performance in Wyoming (22.5), West Virginia (25.1) and Utah (27.3).
For a look at these ratings 1945 — Pro Tip: They always end lower than they started — check out Gallup’s cool interactive Presidential Job Approval Center.
Campaign finance reports due today
Congressional candidates have until midnight tonight to deliver quarterly campaign finance reports to the Federal Election Commission. The reporting period covers the last three months of 2013.
Keep checking back at State & Capitol throughout the day for updates from my colleague Chris Cousins, but here’s what we know so far:
Two candidates for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District — Democratic State Sen. Emily Cain of Orono and Republican former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin of Oakfield — have already reported fundraising totals to the media.
Poliquin raised about $148,000 in Q4, bringing his campaign total so far to about $370,000, although about $100,000 of that was contributed by the candidate himself. Poliquin has nearly $300,000 cash on-hand, likely more than any other candidate.
Cain raised about $157,900 in Q4, bringing her campaign total so far to just over $300,000. She’s got about $169,000 cash on-hand.
In the 2nd CD race, we’re still waiting on reports from Democrats Troy Jackson, the state’s senate majority leader from Allagash, and Alden Smith, a U.S. Navy officer from Sangerville; and Republican Kevin Raye, a former state Senate president from Perry. The congressional seat is open, with incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud running for governor this year.
We’ll also see campaign finance reports from 1st Congressional District, where Democrat U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, faces one declared opponent, Republican Isaac Misiuk, a second-year political science student and former Realtor from Gorham.
Last but not least, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Democrat challenger Shenna Bellows will also disclose their earnings and expenditures for the final quarter of 2013.
Odds and ends
- Gov. Paul LePage and his wife, Ann, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree at the Blaine House in an effort to remind Mainers of currently serving servicemen from the Pine Tree State. Ann LePage has focused her energy on supporting the troops since her husband’s election.
- The seemingly unending rallies and press conferences about the Medicaid expansion debate continued yesterday, when the Maine People’s Alliance screened four brief videos titled “Faces of MaineCare,” showing stories from people who would be eligible if the service is expanded. Videos are available on YouTube.
- Lots of people on the Internet like to write about Maine, even if they’re not from here and even if they don’t seem to have the faintest clue what they’re talking about. If you’re like us, you probably get a good laugh out of this sort of thing. So the Bangor Daily News has a new blog, called “HashtagMaine,” where staff will point you to the best, worst and funniest* things people are saying about our awesome state.
*If you don’t think “Maine Justice” was funny, I don’t know what to say to you.