President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks on his American Jobs Act legislation, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
It shouldn't be a surprise that President Obama's popularity is low in the western United States.
The housing crisis hit hardest here, especially in states such as California. And, not coincidentally, the region is now home to some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. (Nevada is #1 in unemployment, with California a close second).
No, the surprise is that it took Obama this long to fall, given his inability to address the housing crisis or the persistent unemployment.
But finally, economic reality is catching up to the president politically.
Last night, Republicans won a Nevada Congressional seat by 22 points in a district where Obama tied McCain in 2008. And a new Field Poll shows that, for the first time during Obama's presidency, fewer than half of voters surveyed approve of his job performance.
These numbers seem likely to get worse, in part because there appears to be no policy on the horizon to address the West's housing problems, which has left millions of homeowners underwater and/or facing a mountain of private debt.
The president, to be fair, faces all kinds of political and regulatory hurdles to tackling the housing problem.
But he hasn't given the problem the urgency it requires.
If he doesn't, he's likely to pay the price -- by losing the West next year. And without the Western states, he can't be re-elected president.