By John Dodge

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Even here in Illinois where he is a beloved son, the approval rating of President Obama is discouraging for Democrats.

Fifty percent of Illinois voters on Tuesday said they approve of the way Obama is handling the job as president, according to early exit polling data from Edison Research, provided exclusively to CBS 2.

Broken down further, about a third of the voters “strongly disapprove” of Obama, much more than the voters who “strongly approve” (23 percent.)

A total of 27 percent somewhat approve, while 16 percent somewhat disapprove.

“You would think the president in his home state could get at least a 51,” said one political observer.

Those numbers may not bode well for the Democrats nationally, as Republicans are poised to gain seats in the U.S. House and Senate and plan to make this election a referendum on the president’s performance.

The electorate’s views of the direction of the country has much to do with Obama’s low approval.

The Edison data, showed that 59 percent of voters in Illinois say the country is “seriously off on the wrong track.” Interestingly, 26 percent of the voters polled identified themselves as independent.

Nationally, the president’s approval rating varies between about 42 percent and 45 percent.

In the 2008 presidential election, Obama won Illinois with 62 percent of the vote. In 2012 he gathered 57 percent.