As 2012 approaches, many things remain uncertain about who will become our next president. We can almost be certain that Barack Obama will be the Democratic frontrunner, but the question remains; is a republican candidate going to garner enough support to beat Barack Obama and win the next presidential contest?
So, how are Obama’s chances at beating his Republican opponent? At this point, it could be anybody’s game, but will Obama fare well against his opponents, or will he be ending his presidential career after one term as so many have be forced to before him? In recent months, many analysts both inside and outside of Washington have wondered whether we will see President Obama continue living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for four more years.
As of the March 13-15 Gallup Poll that rated President Obama’s job approval rating, he scored a 48% with a disapproval rating of 44 %. In 2003 during President Bush’s second full year in office, his approval rating was between 60% and 65% and he was reelected. Although, the difference between Bush and Obama is that up to this point Obama has not yet seen a drastic drop in approval as Bush did during his time in office after his election.
An even more powerful statistic than an approval rating is that out of the last 56 presidential elections, 31 involved incumbents running and 21 of those incumbents won a second term. That translates to President Obama’s odds of winning in 2012 to around 56%. If history serves as an indicator of the future, then statistically Obama has the upper-hand in the contest, because of the common belief that even if people are unhappy with the direction of a Presidency, they will sooner vote for the man they do know rather than the candidate they don’t.
Aside from the odds, presidential elections have a few demographics that are necessary for victory and at the top of that list sit swing voters. In the past they have gone for the candidates that lean more toward the middle of the political spectrum than the left or right.
Recent speculation has discussed the fact that 44% of independents, usually swing voters, view Obama as a moderate. That number was only 28% over a year ago. Obama has gained the support of swing voters during his first term and if this trend continues, the numbers will continue to be in President Obama’s favor.
The election of 2008 was indeed a very historic one. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the faces of the Democratic Party. The United States ultimately elected their first African-American president. But, what seems to have been forgotten is the amount of money then-Senator Obama raised. It was somewhere around the 750 million dollar benchmark.
The house Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, said that 2012 will see record breaking fundraising dollars from both sides because of the precedent that Obama created during his first presidential campaign. Cantor warned Republican supporters to gird for “an epic battle against the liberal Democrats in 2012.”
After the ruling of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, which granted corporations that same donating rights to political campaigns as individual citizens, 2012 will certainly see record breaking political campaign dollars, those dollars just might not all be from donors that are able to vote.
Coming through on a campaign promise, President Obama said that his administration would no longer uphold the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a legal act between a man and a woman. Many Republican politicians, citizens, and commentators disagree with this stance and feel that amid all of the unrest around the world, and the country, Obama should be fully focused on the economy and job creation. Responding to Obama’s new legal position was the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who said Americans want the president to focus on cutting spending and not bringing controversial issues to the table in such a dire time.
“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation” said Michael Steel, a spokesmen for Speaker Boehner.
Boehner has a point and his opinion echoes the general Republican sentiment around the nation, so his criticism is certainly not only his own. Decisions Obama made like that of the DOMA may hinder his chances of success in 2012. Pat Buchanan, a political analyst for MSNBC, says that this issue is definitely a “moral” one, and that a ruling either in favor or in oppositions to it “should not change with the times.”
Regardless of the position politicians hold on the act, both sides agree that it has added to the polarization between the Republicans and Democrats in government.
So, will numbers or the Republicans be correct in their predictions? Will statistics from Gallup or criticism from political adversaries be Obama’s future? Until the results are in after the November 2012 polling process, there is no way of telling. The only thing we know is that the election process will be an epic battle between the liberals and conservatives.