Guardian reporter Gary Younge reports from Prestonburg, Ky., an Appalachian coal-mining area that has seen one of its worst years, with a quarter of the families living in poverty and half of the children in Floyd County living on food stamps. And Younge found a lot of fingers pointed at President Barack Obama among the residents there:
"Keith Bartley, Floyd County's Democratic chairman, says one key reason why Obama's such a tough sell here is because of the effect of his cap and trade policy on the coal industry. Lt Governor Daniel Mongiardo, the Democratic frontrunner in Kentucky's senatorial race later this year, says he would not want Obama to come and stump for him on the campaign trail, particularly because of his environmental policies. 'With some of the positions he has taken, especially on coal, no. He certainly can't come into eastern or western Kentucky and help. Nor would I want him to.'
...'I'd have thought in the past that if Charles Manson ran against a Republican in Floyd County he would win,' says Bartley. 'But Charles Manson could beat Barack Obama here right now. Thousands of miners out of work, the entire local economy in the tank. But he's got a couple of years where he could turn this round. If he does that he could win. If he doesn't, Charles Manson could come in and win.'"
Floyd County, Younge notes, went 94 percent for Hillary Rodham Clinton to Obama's 5 percent in the Democratic primaries, went for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) by 25 points in the 2004 general election, and went for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) by a slim 2-point margin in 2008 -- "the first time a Republican had won Floyd in living memory."
Obama's approval ratings have been dipping and disapproval ratings spiking in the past year. The most recent polling average, according to Real Clear Politics, is 49 percent approval and 44.7 percent disapproval.