With the successful elimination of terrorist mastermind, Osama bin Laden, President Obama’s prospects for an election victory in 2012 seem much brighter. In the wake of bin Laden’s death, Obama’s approval ratings have surged 9 percentage points since April from 47% to 56% according to a recent Pew Research Center and Washington Post poll.
That said, does President Obama have a “lock” on reelection in 2012?
The short answer is, no.
There are still 18 months between now and election day. A lot can happen in that period. Furthermore, the economy is still struggling with 9.0% unemployment. According to the same Pew Research Center poll, 55% of Americans still disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy.
Furthermore, as The Economist‘s Lexington column notes, neither Winston Churchill nor President George Herbert Walker Bush, remained in office after their stunning victories against Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein, respectively. It is also important to add that George H.W. Bush’s Gulf War victory did little to offset the political liability of a sluggish economy.
President Obama’s prospects will likely turn on the state of the American economy and employment. If economic activity surges in the next 18 months and unemployment declines to less than 6%, I think the President will survive. If economic growth remains anemic and unemployment stays persistently above 7%, the President will likely lose the next election.
Only time will tell.
I agree. By November of next year, I don’t think there will be much talk about OBL.
At least one reason to conclude this isn’t fake, is the timing isn’t optimal. Too early.
If it was faked for politics it would have been done some time in mid 2012.
Holding onto the photo also gives the President a trump card in the election. For instance, Obama can let his opponents savage him for not releasing the photo, wasting all of their energy on it. Then, just before the election, he can release it and render his competition impotent.
Isn’t that using your opponents momentum as they rush at you against them when you just step out of the way.
Obama is a ninja.
You heard it here first. 😉
If economic growth remains anemic and unemployment stays persistently above 7%, the President will likely lose the next election.
Jobs and gas; jobs and gas.
Agreed, President Bush was a sure thing in 1991, it seemed, but he lost to a candidate with many apparent flaws. It’s too early. However, Obama is helped because this undercuts the image of him as too cautious and uncertain. The biggest news last week for 2012 is the creation of 260,000+ private sector jobs last month, and the drop in oil prices. If those trends continue, then 2012 will likely see good economic recovery and that will give Obama the election. But one month does not a trend make (though at least this time it’s not a census worker bump). The economy matters most.
True. In fact, gasoline prices tend to be seasonal rising in the summer and falling in the winter. If gasoline prices actually declined in the summer, that would a good trend indeed.