Based on the expected state of the economy, President Obama faces an uphill battle to win reelection in 2012. …Another model gives him just 47%, and though we know that a president can still win the Electoral College with less than 50% of the vote, that much of a deficit would be pretty much impossible to overcome.
Over the years, statistical attempts to explain and predict U.S. presidential election results have yielded two overarching themes. First, Americans tend to vote their pocketbooks. If the economy is growing strongly and unemployment is low, the incumbent party has a very good chance of retaining office. When the economy is faltering, U.S. voters will more likely vote for change. Second, Americans tend to favor an incumbent president running for reelection. If the economy is weak enough, however, an incumbent president can lose, as Jimmy Carter learned in 1980 and George H. W. Bush did in 1992.
Based on the likely state of the economy in 2012, President Obama faces a steep uphill task to secure reelection. Based upon our forecast for the economy, our election equation projects just a 43.5% share of the two-party vote for the president, i.e., a heavy defeat.
It's all conjecture at this point, but the economic forecasts aren't going to get a lot better in the next year.