Barack Obama’s approval ratings have spent the last several days under 50% in Gallup’s national poll (at 49% today), but a poll out of Iowa may have more significance for both Obama and the Democrats.  Obama won Iowa’s caucuses in January 2008, unexpectedly vaulting to the top of the nomination race, and his populist campaign caught fire in the Midwest generally.  Now, a new Des Moines Register poll this weekend shows Obama slipping 19 points since his inauguration — and losing Iowa’s independents:

Fewer than half of Iowans approve of President Barack Obama’s performance in office a year after he carried the state in the 2008 election, according to The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll.

Obama’s overall job approval slipped to 49 percent from 53 percent in September. Iowans’ approval is down 19 percentage points since an Iowa Poll in January, about the time he was inaugurated.

A majority of Iowans now say the Democrat’s performance in key economic areas is inadequate, including health care, his top domestic priority.

Obama didn’t just win the Iowa caucuses. He also blew John McCain out in the general election, 54%-45%, in a state that went to George W. Bush in 2004. That has entirely dissipated, as Iowans have apparently awoken after the inauguration with a big HopeandChangeTM hangover..

In fact, Obama’s under water on almost every measure the Register surveyed:

  • Economy: 41% approval, 55% disapproval (-14)
  • War management: 38/49 (-11)
  • Health care: 34/55 (-21)
  • Deficit: 30/61 (-31)

Obama gets a -21 on health care?  That’s practically a poster issue for Iowa populists.  For Obama to have fallen to that level, Iowans must really have a big problem with ObamaCare.  It seems as though Obama miscalculated his populist mandate … even among populists.

The deficit number is also significant.  Obama has tried blaming Bush for the last ten months for the deficits, and Iowans may have been sympathetic to that argument — for a while.  However, they clearly have shifted the blame to Obama and the Democrats, who project massive deficits for the next ten years that dwarf anything Bush did, while pushing big-spending statist agenda items.  That’s not Bush’s fault, and Iowans know it.

Update: Bush narrowly lost Iowa in 2000.