In these dark days for the Democratic Party it may seem comical to talk about what states Barack Obama could win in 2012 where he came up short in 2008. But things could be completely different in a couple years from where they are now and Gallup's recent release of their 50 state approval numbers for 2009 gives us an idea of where he stands across the country.
The state where Obama was most popular in 2009 that he didn't win in 2008, perhaps surprisingly, is South Carolina. One might have expected it to be a state like Missouri, Montana, or Georgia where he just narrowly lost. His approval in SC was 56.1%. I actually thought it was a little curious Obama didn't go after the state more strongly because of a) its large black population, b) what an overwhelming margin it gave him in the primary and c) its whites aren't quite as predominantly conservative as they are in some other southern states. Maybe that'll change in 2012.
Next best for Obama among states where he lost are South Dakota at 55.8%, Georgia at 55.6%, Missouri at 55.5%, North Dakota at 55.3%, and Arizona at 54.7%. It'll be interesting to see what he can do in Az. in 2012 without John McCain on the opposing ticket.
Montana, the second closest state where Obama lost, may be moving away from him. His approval there came in at just 48.1%, mirroring the broader trend of Obama's lagging popularity in the Mountain West region.