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Gallup poll: Obama's Minnesota approval rating falls below 50 percent

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As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, a new poll finds he can no longer claim a majority of Minnesotans approve of his performance.

Gallup conducts an annual poll of the president's approval rating in each state and found that in 2013 the figure sank to 48 percent in Minnesota. Michigan and Washington were other states where Obama's approval fell below 50 percent, leaving 11 states and the District of Columbia above that threshold, Gallup says.

Nationwide, Gallup found 46.5 percent of those surveyed approve of the president's performance, which is 2 percent lower than the 2012 level. In the state-by-state breakdown, South Dakota and North Dakota were among the ten states where Obama fared the worst, with approval at less than 40 percent in each.

Politico notes the president's flagging popularity could have implications for U.S. Senate races in South Dakota, where Democrat Tim Johnson is retiring, and in Minnesota, where Politico sees Democrat Al Franken's re-election race as "potentially competitive." Republicans would need to pick up six seats to gain control of the Senate in November.

CNN reports sources in the administration have hinted that Obama will use Tuesday night's speech to launch initiatives he can enact with executive authority, bypassing the need for Congressional approval.

Each member of Congress is entitled to invite a guest to the State of the Union speech. The Star Tribune lists the guests of each Minnesota member, who include the Mayo Clinic's CEO, the vice chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and a family physician from St. Cloud concerned about the Affordable Care Act's impact on her practice.

Another Minnesotan, retired National Guard member Eric Marts of Moorhead, is the guest of North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Marts, who gradually lost his vision after serving in Iraq, is an advocate for the needs of veterans.

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