Can Barack Obama be Re-elected in 2012?

A Different Perspective on the 2012 Election

It’s now clear that Democrats suffered huge losses in the House of Representatives and substantial losses in the U. S. Senate as a result of the Midterm elections. Republicans are on track to win 63 net House seats and 6 net Senate seats when all of the absentee ballots are counted and recounts have been completed. To a large extent, Barack Obama as president bears much of the blame for these losses. His insistence during his 2 years as president on pushing unpopular legislation, such as Obamacare and Cap & Trade, the massive increase in the national debt and the anemic growth of the economy and jobs was in large part responsible for these Democrat losses.

The question now is – can Barack Obama be re-elected as President in 2012? My answer is – yes he can and it’s likely that he will be re-elected.

Republicans now believe that he is a weakened president who cannot get any of his agenda through Congress, and that Americans will flock to the Republican Party in 2012. I believe otherwise and Republicans have a great deal of work to accomplish if they think they can wrest the presidency from Obama in 2012.

My reasons for believing that Obama will have the upper hand in 2012 are the following:

  • Republicans will keep their promises and start reducing the federal budget in the next two years. 
  • Republicans will convince Obama to extend all the Bush tax cuts at least through 2012, if not during the lame duck session, then early next year in the new session of Congress. 
  • The economy and the job situation should improve slowly over the next two years as a result of these Republican efforts. 
  • President Obama will attempt to take credit for everything that is good as the economy improves, and will largely succeed with the help of the liberal media and the financial industry that likes divided government.
  • The natural inclination of the American electorate is to keep the president they know rather that elect a president they don’t know, unless the economy and events are going very badly for the incumbent in 2012.
  • In 2012, there will be a much higher turnout than occurred in the 2010 midterm elections, probably in the neighborhood of a 20% increase. I expect a large percentage of these “additional” voters will be made up of Blacks, Hispanics and other minority groups who are friendly to Obama and who will vote only because Obama is on the ticket.

There are other less important reasons for believing Obama will prevail in 2012. Look at the history of presidential elections for Presidents in a first term. Reagan’s popularity was down in the 30’s in the polls and Republicans lost 26 House seats in 1982, but he came back to win strongly in 1984. Harry Truman’s approval rating was down to 32% in 1946, and the Republicans gained 55 House seats and a majority that year. Even with those poor numbers, Truman came back to win the presidency in 1948. And in more recent times, Bill Clinton lost both houses of Congress in 1994 with very strong gains by Republicans but was able to regain his strength and easily won re-election as president in 1996. Since 1900, only one president whose party won the presidency from the other party was not re-elected to a second term, and that was Jimmy Carter.

Another factor to consider is the current status of the presidential polls. Even after the huge losses by Democrats in 2010, the Quinnipiac poll puts Mitt Romney ahead of Obama by only a single point, 45% to 44%. All of the other Republicans still trail the president in head to head polling. If they are not ahead of him now in his weakened condition, what makes anyone think they can beat Obama in 2012? And these polls represent people who are following the presidential race at this time, which is probably very few. According to a recent Pew poll, only 46% of the general public even know that the Republicans will be taking over control of the House of Representatives next year, so it’s unlikely that any poll showing Obama losing at this time would be an accurate reflection of what’s likely to happen in 2012.

Does this mean that Republicans don’t have a chance to win in 2012? Of course not! There are plenty of reasons for Republicans to be optimistic about the 2012 presidential race, including:

  • Republicans have a large number of well qualified candidates for President.
  • The eventual Republican nominee will be well financed. 
  • According to a recent article by Larry Sabato, Obama’s popularity was above 50% in only 20 states just before the 2010 midterm elections. These states account for only 200 electoral votes. 
  • It’s not clear that Obama will change his priorities and move more to the center of American politics. It’s very possible he will maintain his left wing political agenda, which could be very harmful to his electoral chances in 2012. 
  • The Republicans just might surprise everyone and nominate a constitutional, charismatic conservative who can gain the acceptance and the support of the electorate.

Republican activists cannot take the 2012 presidential election for granted. They need to look at the lessons of history and study them well if they expect to defeat Barack Obama for President in 2012.

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