It's hard to believe West Virginia was reliably Democratic at the Presidential level as recently as the 1990s. Barack Obama's approval rating there is 32% with 62% of voters disapproving of him. Out of 45 states where PPP has polled on Obama in 2010 and 2011 the only place where he has worse numbers is Wyoming. Obama trails his two most likely Republican opponents by double digits and would appear to have very little chance of returning the state to the Democratic column.
There are two things that make Obama's numbers unusually bad in West Virginia. The biggest is that he's below a 50% approval rating with Democrats. Only 49% think he's doing a good job to 43% who believe that he's doing poorly. The other is independents- although he's not doing particularly well with those voters anywhere right now his 23/67 standing with them in the state is unusually bad. He's also at just a 6% approval with Republicans but that's become pretty much par for the course for him everywhere we poll.
Obama trails Mitt Romney and Rick Perry by similar margins to his 13 point loss against John McCain in the state. Romney leads by 12 points at 49-37 and Perry has an 11 point advantage at 49-38. Both of the GOP front runners hold Obama to only about 60% of the Democratic vote, and they lead him by margins of greater than 20 points with independents.
It's looking increasingly unlikely that the nominee will be anyone other than those two but Obama would be a little bit more competitive if it was one of the lower tier candidates. He trails Michele Bachmann by 9 points at 48-39 and Newt Gingrich by 5 points at 45-40. What would really give him a shot to take West Virginia is if Sarah Palin made a last minute entry and somehow finagled the Republican nomination. Obama would trail her by only a 45-42 margin.
Although Obama appears to have virtually no chance of even making West Virginia competitive next year the numbers here aren't all good news for Republicans. Even in what is becoming a reliably red state at the Presidential level all of the GOP contenders have negative favorability ratings- it's 29/32 for Perry, 27/41 for Romney, 25/44 for Bachmann, 37/53 for Palin, and 22/56 for Gingrich. It's another data point showing the weakness of the field and why Barack Obama still might get reelected in spite of pretty atrocious approval numbers.
Full results here