Obama at the electoral tipping point

September 1, 2011

By Cliff Young and Chris Jackson
The opinions expressed are their own.

The Obama administration finds itself between a rock and a hard place.  On one side, an emboldened Republican Party smells blood, with their largely successful (politically speaking) full court press on the debt issue and dominance of the news cycle.  On the other, the economic news—both domestically and internationally—has been depressing at best, and downright scary at worst.

Given this dreary backdrop, the common wisdom among pundits and politicos is that Obama has been winged and is beatable in 2012.  Pundits offer varied reasons for this new found pessimism in Obama.

Some cite the dangers of a weakening economy on voters’ mood for “more of the same.”  Indeed, history suggests that no post-WWII president has won reelection when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent—bad news for Obama since unemployment looks to remain above 8.5 percent over the next year. Others stress Obama moving too far to the left with a “big government” agenda, while others say Obama has alienated his base by giving in too readily to Republican demands.  Underlining all these critiques are warnings of a Carter-esque “crisis of confidence” scenario where voters lose faith in Obama’s leadership.

However, is this pessimism warranted?  Is Obama truly on shaky ground?  To answer these questions, we base our analysis on a database of 140 elections from 25 countries used for electoral forecasting and poll validation here at Ipsos.

So what does the empirical evidence suggest?

Taken as a whole, Obama is still a favorite.  That being said, he is dangerously close to the tipping point between a clear favorite and a struggling contender.  We detail our logic below.

First, according to our statistical modeling, incumbents are more than twice as likely to win on election-day than non-incumbents.  This results from a variety of factors including greater name recognition and control of the political machinery by the party-in-power. By this metric, Obama definitely has an advantage.

Second, not all electoral scenarios are equal.  While incumbents typically have an advantage, some are in a better relative position than others.  In our experience, job approval ratings are best at capturing the relative position for incumbents.  When approval ratings are high, incumbents are the clear favorites; when they are low, incumbents face strong (if not insurmountable) electoral head-winds.

By this logic, our statistical models show that Obama’s has 67% chance of winning the election in 2012 if his approval ratings stay at 42% (average from Pollster.com).  Obama’s chances of winning improve to 90% if his approval numbers increase to 50%.

In contrast, if Obama’s approval numbers were to drop to 39%, as Gallup has had him over the last few weeks, his probability of winning would fall to 54%.  Put differently, we would have a wide-open election if Obama’s approval numbers fall below 40%.

So what does this all mean in a practical sense?

First, presidential approval ratings at 40% are the tipping point for incumbents.  Above that mark incumbents have a better than average chance of being re-elected, while below that point their advantage disappears.  Obama is hovering dangerously close to the water’s edge.

Approval Rating
Probability of incumbent winning election

Source: Ipsos forecasting model

Second, every point matters.  A few-point increase (or decrease) in Obama’s approval rating can make or break his electoral chances (see table above).

Our own modeling suggests that — excluding some extraordinary events — Obama’s numbers will most likely remain between 39 and 45 points in mid-2012, which points to a 2012 electoral cycle ranging from a totally wide-open election to one where Obama has a slight advantage.

As such, the strategies are quite clear.  Obama needs to finds ways to improve his numbers, while Republicans should work to depress satisfaction with the President.  In either case, this contest, in our opinion, will be a game of mere inches.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I think he needs to follow the example set by another Democrat president, Lyndon B. Johnson and choose not to run for a second term.

Posted by jhouswpb | Report as abusive

I think this election is the Republican’s to loose – again. They have no cohesion at putting together one person that can do the job. Somehow Ron Paul is ranking high in the polls but no media even talks about the guy. Bachman and Romney are just as bad as Palin running.

Posted by Inertia | Report as abusive

Without a quality GOP candidate or an alternative DEM candidate, I may end up voting for the incumbent.

Posted by SanPa | Report as abusive

Interesting analysis. At least an attempt was made to use a factual basis, something that is becoming increasingly rare these days. What I find odd, though, is that the authors chose to use a data sample that included inputs external to the U.S. It would be interesting if they would explain why they did so. Since “ancient wisdom” dictates that “all politics is local,” wouldn’t it make more sense to confine the data points to the U.S.? Even though we live in an increasingly global community, using political outcomes from what are likely very different political systems seems to stretch the bounds of reason. It causes the analysis to be immediately suspect. Did the authors not get the result they were hoping for using data points from U.S. history? Did they weight the data points lower from non-U.S. contributors?

I would be quite interested in a follow-up article that uses data from a purely U.S. sample and I do not believe I am alone; many would (or should) be.

Posted by SKMauss | Report as abusive

Our nation cannot afford four more years of Obamas policies to strangle free enterprise.

Posted by Grey_Matter | Report as abusive

[…] The conventional wisdom now is that the president is beatable in 2012. Taken as a whole, Obama is still a favorite, but the numbers show he is dangerously close to turning from a clear favorite to a struggling contender.   ary […]

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Sigh. I was a delirious Obama supporter in 2008. I thought he was going to be the The Lion. But now I see he’s all talk and no bite. If he backs down over the scheduling of a national address, what will he fight for? He’s like the kid in the schoolyard who runs as soon as someone makes a fist in his face. What a bitter disappointment. Can we have a do-over and elect Hillary? She’s more of a man than Obama will ever be.

Posted by IntoTheTardis | Report as abusive

Too bad for Hoover…eh, I mean Obama.

Had he focused on creating jobs and solving the housing crisis instead of threatening to gut social security and Medicare so that plutocrats wouldn’t have to pay a few pennies more in taxes, he might be very popular now.

It’s OK, though – Goldman Sachs will welcome him onto their board of directors come Feb 2013…

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While not everyone partakes in polls, the media always uses poll numbers to please their readers or viewers with their programmed election coverage with both sides on how polls are leaning. Therefore, polls are more for the media and our government leaders watch and sometimes respond to what the media does with them.

I think most Democratic Constituents know that in 2009 and 2010, the Democratic Congress viewed our economy so vulnerable, that they were afraid to spend very much on any new legislation, contrary to Democratic critics. All American’s know that the only politician, then brave enough to take any economic political risk, was our President, who leaned conservative on the stimulus amount and was criticized for it.

Since the Obama Administration was able to keep the nations Gross Domestic Product (the cost of products and services sold in the U.S.) up close to what the Bush Administration had, rich people did not suffer in this economic crisis to search for any change. Therefore, I see many of the wealthiest Republican Constituents coming out to vote Republican again. The vote to watch is from both sides on Main Street who view unemployment and the unemployed not seeing money from a somewhat stable GDP and which party they might blame for an economy with money, without equal distribution of money.

I also think Ryan’s Budget plan that challenges Medicare for seniors will probably get many senior Democratic voters out voting a straight ticket and keep Republican senior voters home or out voting a split ticket.

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@IntoTheTardis: You do realize that Congress needs to invite the President – that the President cannot force the event on Congress? So, he really doesn’t have the option – however, the Republicans showed that jobs creation isn’t their top priority.

Posted by thrdkllr | Report as abusive



True, he’s a punk but “ouch.” Still based on the republican wack-jobs running against him: Bachman? Perry? Ditzy Gidget and Crazy Jesus John Wayne wanna-be, who else can one vote for? a Mormon? spaceships and aliens anyone?

The core of the system is rotten when one’s only choice is between Wimp Fraud A and Insane Joke B.

This two party monopoly on politics needs to end if democracy is ever to be restored here.

Posted by FoxxDrake | Report as abusive

“Since he has been in office President Obama has been more of a manager than a leader. Mostly he managed expectations: but also the debilitating foreign polcies inherited from his predocessor. he made symbolic foreign policy gestures to please his progressive and liberal supporters, and carrying out new policies to please the establishments military and political heavyweights. he signed to shut down Guantonomo, then changed the closure of it. Extended his hand to the Muslim World, then at his Generals demand, sent more trooops to Afganistan. He demanded a total Israeli settlement freeze, did slid back, he said plans for a free world of nuclear weapons, but went on to say Iran, “No Nukes.’ Obamas sermons on foreign policy preached it alone on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interest and shook hands with those with clenched fists.”

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Posted by ORBUSMAX ARCHIVES » Links From 9/1/11 | Report as abusive

Obama has truly been a disappointment for me, but neither of the two parties are giving me any “hope” for a “change.” At this point if it were between Perry or Bachman and Obama… I might not even vote. I mean, why? What’s the point? The potentials I like apparently aren’t dumb enough to interest mainstream American political debate. That said, it probably will be Obama again, and somebody like Perry or Bachman, and even though it will make me absolutely sick to my stomach I’ll give the incumbent my vote just because he scares me only a little less. I could never not vote against candidates who present the Rapture and Biblical Armageddon as a more rational idea than modest scientific theories like evolution and climate change.

Posted by big_winner | Report as abusive

Only in the last two weeks have the mainstream media began to report on the failures of the Obama administration. I admit I was floored when CBS reported Mr. Obama’s abysmal approval rating.

Let’s face it, Mr. Obama is an empty suit with absolutely no leadership abilities. After three years of one failure after another the majority of voters polled will vote for anyone with an R after their name. No budget, no foreign policy, no energy policy, no immigration policy, but with Obama Care we do have a new cradle to grave tax for every man, woman and child in America. Well unless you’re a union member or a well connected democrat who can obtain a waiver.

What a terrible waste of a Presidential term and a slap in the face of all Americans who bought into Obama’s slick empty campaign promises.

Posted by 0ldRNCowboy | Report as abusive


Wow, okay,how to respond to what you wrote. First, the Stimulus had it been larger most certainly would have ignited inflation while at the same time only causing the number of jobs to appear on a limited short term basis. The Keynesian Economic policies of the past will not function in a nation that has off-shored much of its fabrication and mineral extraction.

Second, the rich suffered more than any other class during this recession losing close to 25% to 35% of their income, whereas the middle class lost close to 3% and the poor stayed about level. Just go look at the IRS SOI information and judge for yourself if ‘the rich’ made out okay during this debacle, why do you think they are not hiring right now, they are licking their wounds and trying to get their feet back under themselves.

Finally why does everyone talk about tax increases as though they are the saving grace from a horrible situation? Increasing taxes does almost nothing unless you are broadening the base. Increasing taxes on the ‘rich’ would have brought in close to $80 Billion additional Funds this year on a Budget shortfall of $1.6 Trillion. To be honest that is being generous as since the economy took a nosedive it is probably closer to $70 Billion. For those of you savvy enough at math to figure out percentages that means at best an increase in taxes on the ‘rich’ will knock 5% off the additional deficit that we are going to incur this year. Republicans see this as nothing less than class envy and increasing the taxes without first doing meaningful spending cuts as, well a dog and pony show.

Obama gave a speech in which he lambasted Republicans for refusing to increase taxes even if it was matched with a ten to one cut in spending. Republicans have been promised this sort of thing before, ‘If you give us a tax increase we will triple it with spending cuts’ It happened under Reagan, it happened under Bush Senior, If they said okay to this the tax would go through and the spending cuts would never materialize.

Finally as to GDP. That is part of the problem. GDP has not changed yet the value in our total take home pay has dropped significantly. In 2007 before the real crushing blow of the housing market debacle hit us, we as a nation earned close to $8.6 Trillion in wages ( according to the IRS ) in 2009 it was close to $7.6 Trillion ( most of the loss was to the wealthy!!! ) Yet the GDP had not dropped that same amount! GDP is a great tool but it can be manipulated through government involvement without REALLY effecting change in the overall economy. Hence while it is an important indicator I feel it is a bad one for really understanding how well off we are.

Now finally and I am doing this to help educate those who simply do not understand WHY things were so great in 1999 and 2000, the rich went from making $800 Billion in 1996 to making $1.7 Trillion in 2000. That is how Clinton was able to afford to pay down the debt in any way shape or form. The problem is that it burst the next year. Now just an FYI the rich in 2009 made $1.96 Trillion. Less than 10% more than they did in 2000 whereas the middle class made $2.8 Trillion in 2000 and almost $4 Trillion in 2009. That is a 30% increase for the Middle Class compared to an anemic 10% increase in almost a decade for the rich. But hey who cares about hard numbers when there is blaming going on?

Look, besides spending more money, passing more regulation, and saying one thing while going out and doing another, what has Obama accomplished? GDP Growth? The GDP grew during the Great Depression, and just like now it was horribly slow. What is really scary is that 1% that we were recently revised down to. That his accomplishment is that we did not go down in GDP. I hate to say it but 1% growth is so bad that it feels like a recession.

Despite this I do not think Obama is a bad president, he just isn’t a good president. He has never had to create wealth, he has only ever redistributed it. He is doing what he knows and unfortunately it will not fix the economy. At this point we will be hard pressed to patch the problems as they have not only developed under Obama’s Tenure, These are problems stretching back into the 1960’s and 1970’s that have crippled our ability to be economically competitive with the rest of the world. They are issues that forced business and mines and other forms of wealth generation to flee to other shores. Leaving us with a service based economy, and if we are lucky it will grow again sometime, but probably not due to what Obama is planning.

I would laugh if he decide to give every household in the USA $10,000… That would simply be laughable. Technically it would only cost $1.2 Trillion… which is really sad to be said in that manner.

Posted by Innocentious | Report as abusive

Kentucky windage.

Thr financial system almost melted down in 2008. Bush (not Obama) had to balloon the debt to rescue us from a collapse of the banking system. Bush (not Obama) got us into two completely unfunded wars which Obama is now extricating us from.

The middle class in the US is shrinking, poverty is increasing, and the rich are richer than ever. Yeh, they pay taxes – which, thanks to tax cuts that benefit them – are about as burdensome to them as buying a Starbucks.

Obama made the mistake of trying to move beyond partisanship to compromise for the good of the country. But the Republicans aren’t buying.

Still, Obama will win reelection if only because the current contenders to challenge him range from a lunatic (Perry), who is racing to make Texas a third-world country, to a flat-out idiot (Bachmann), who still thinks Americans are worried about the defunct Soviet Union.

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Posted by THE FRIDAY GRUDGE | PoliNation | Report as abusive

Admitted, I expected a bit more bite from Obama as well, but I have to agree with Anonymous: When Bush took over, he found a reasonably healthy budget and economy. Obama took over a mess – just the courage to take that job at the time is admirable – and although things don’t look too good right now, a lot of it is orchestrated to make him look bad.
You wait. Let the elections be over and the industry will be hiring again, no matter who the president is. The rich are just trying to starve him to death, but it’s not going to work. The majority knows where his loyalty lies – with the American people, ALL OF THEM.
Apart from that, there isn’t anyone amongst the Republicans who can be taken seriously anyway.

Posted by Rhino1 | Report as abusive

Obama, inherited the situation that we are now going through is a direct result of the Bush Administration and the failed policies they put in place. While I think it was a mistake for Obama to have extended the Bush tax cuts, the Republicans in return showed their thanks by standing in the way of almost all major legislation that Obama’s administration tried to get passed. Obama has been dealt a hard blow with the US bank failures and world economic crisis along with the wars that Bush started. Obama has handled Libya’s citizen plea for help quite well, by contributing, but not leading, thereby limiting our involvement. I think it’s quite fair to say he’s had his hands tied while trying to clean up everyone else’s messes. Give him a break, he’s looking to new sources to help him make better policies. He’s learned he cannot deal with the Republicans without treachery, and he’s got a year to still show he’s got the integrity and tenacity to be President. There’s no way on God’s green earth that I would want to put a Republican or Tea Partier in office, because they are self-serving, and not looking out for you or me.

Posted by BuffaloGirl | Report as abusive

Ron Paul is doing well in the polls in spite of having virtually no mass media coverage. Since a popular candidate is deliberately being ignored by the Press I am forced to conclude that the game is rigged. Even more scary is that it so obvious, which means that today’s Power Brokers don’t even care enough to try and hide it. The fact that the people pulling the strings are at odds with Dr. Paul is all the more reason he should be our President.

Posted by GLK | Report as abusive

@Innocentious, drink more of the GOP/tea-party Kool-aid please. You act like the rich are the ones that have been attacked for the last 40 years, when the VAST majority (upwards of 90%) of economist will tell you, the root cause of why we are in this spot now is the systematic destruction of the middle class over the last 40 years for the benefit of the rich.

EVERY analysis has shown that incomes from the top 5% grew exponentially over the last 20 years, while the middle class and poor have seen their wages go up by a few %, of course this is adjusted for inflation.

Take a look here… http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts -about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america- 2010-4#real-average-earnings-have-not-in creased-in-50-years-6

Posted by USAPragmatist | Report as abusive

Country has divided over issues,Look at the House,its GOP and Look at the senate,its Dems,whatever the bill passed in the GOP House,Harry Reid’s Dems Senate object and turn down,no compromising over anything,no bill will go to President,ever,Do you see any devolopment in this country,No Not at all,lets say,in 2012 even if GOP take the senate,then Dems will fillbuster over GOP bills,(Im doubt GOP will get 60 seats in 2012)so country will stay like this forever,lets say Rick Perry become the President,GOP controlled house will pass and Senate will block every bill. GOP should learn to compromise,Dems should fight back,What US President can do alone sitting in the white house,he has limited executive powers over current issues, can he sign off a another stimulus bill of $ 800 billion,NO way,he needs congress approval.Country is divided,liberals and Conservatives,this is what we called,what goes around comes around,this is the payback time to United States for sining,In this country we perform more than thousads of abortions,look at the crime rate,do you still beleive God will bless our country when we continue to sin like this.
I dont think people will ever elect another GOP president,we saw how greatul President Bush was,he messed everything,at least Dems will take care of own people.This is not politics,this is about black president in the white house,GOP hates him,they all wants obama to fail, but they dont have a proper leader now to teach them basics,No job bills,no improvments in roads,gas prices are up,middle american sucks,the time has come to payback our past sins now america,we hurt other people in other countries so much so now its all coming to backyard and infact its already in our backyards now,We will be like this for another 10 yrs unless GOP will learn to compromise or Dems will get the super majority in both chambers.

Tea party is good,but lack of civic and data’s,they should go to highschool again,they can not run a country with their civic knoweldge,Tea party reps dont know politics,they have to learn alot,our country need Lords blessings again,we say we are true christians but we do the oppesite,GOP has christian block in their party,and GOP leaders giving misinformationa and trick them to vote for them, this is whats happening in bible belt states,most of the people are in social security and medicare, and GOP wants to cut those programs,if they cut it those people will end in the road,BTW bible belt is just a show name,Oklahoma has the highest teen pregnancy and divorcee rate in the country,mojority of them are GOP voters,they say there are true christians for name sake,but you see the data,judge yourself,what is wrong in our country !!!

Posted by Kurp37 | Report as abusive

@FoxxDrake: It is unfortunate that you would use ridicule and innuendo to discredit candidates and their policies. It indicates a fundamental lack of understanding of who they are and what they stand for. In particular, I am dismayed at your negative characterization of Mormons. There is no belief in “aliens” or anything that is stranger than what mainstream Christianity believes. The founder of Mormonism claims to have received gold plates from an angel. The Bible claims Moses received stone tablets from a burning bush. So what? Neither is particularly crazier than the other, and none of it is relevant to the problems we now face as a nation. Isn’t it time we look at those with a track record of fixing things (especially financial matters) and lose the nonsensical distractions? Simply ridiculing someone for their religious beliefs is more likely to discredit the one ridiculing and not the one being ridiculed, and it is not a sufficient reason to reelect President Obama.

Posted by SKMauss | Report as abusive

If two sides fail to agree or seek further consultations, the game is up. So Obama and Congress failed to prevent this double dip recession. Numbers fall again. Democrats scurry for cover and Republicans riding shot-gun simply hold up the stage.

Sometime on the evening news a commentator should say, “Maybe Dr.Paul will draw such a high number of independents making the jobs number the trump card on one term. The establishment -Republican leaders will support Romney even to their detriment. So a third party like candidate focused on increasing jobs and reducing big government over a war weary nation in a general election has a 2/3 majority to draw from. The extremes need to lose once in a while.” pHenry

A third choice of an independent on the ballot is already utilized but rarely supported.

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“The Bible claims Moses received stone tablets from a burning bush. So what? Neither is particularly crazier than the other…”

Says you. Where did he find those golden plates again? Oh, that’s right…upstate New York.


I’m sorry. I’m sure you take your religion very serious and all, and honestly as a commie pinko liberal, (aka a registered democrat) religion is not as important to me as most; but do you really think that’s going to matter to the Southern Baptists? Who are like 90% republican?

You’re not veiwing this clearly and perhaps need a new “seer stone.”

Oh, and their policies stink too.

Posted by FoxxDrake | Report as abusive

Obama’s chances of re-election are nil. He should stand down tomorrow. Unfortunately, he won’t, and whoever wins the Republican nomination will cruise to victory in a massive landslide. Then the real work of the right wing will begin: installing an even farther right-wing Supreme Court.

Obama’s failure will have vastly farther-reaching implications for all of us than we can begin to imagine. It is a national tragedy of unimaginable proportions.

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I don’t feel sorry for him. He had it all when he was elected and betrayed those who voted him in. He went against every pledge he made.He can’t even go back and become a progressive because he lost the house 2010. This is nothing short of a disaster. In 2012 the only choices we have to vote for are bad and worse.

Posted by tomsawyer | Report as abusive

As an independent, I voted enthusiastically for Obama, based primarily on his promise to rewrite NAFTA and address other failed trade deals. I’ve been bitterly disappointed. On his first foray into the subject of trade as president, he was sent home with his tail between his legs by the Mexicans, who responded to his talk about NAFTA with huge tariffs on American imports. Those tariffs still stand and he’s done nothing about it. The guy is a candy-ass in negotiations, and he’s proven it time and again, both at home and abroad. Our trade deficit has exploded during his presidency, dragging down our economy and killing jobs. I won’t vote for him again.

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive

Reading the posts, there is clearly great disappointment among the President’s base. The sanity of most of the Republican candidates would be difficult to establish. This might be the year for an independent candidate. Ron Paul has been mentioned. Michael Bloomberg? Can we gather support to have the presidential debates stop being a duopoly, and give the American people a less party-controlled choice?

Posted by jfxwsr | Report as abusive

“Can we gather support to have the presidential debates stop being a duopoly, and give the American people a less party-controlled choice?”

Here, here.

Every election we get the same coin and are told to pick “heads or tails” and told that is a choice. But it’s the same coin…over and over again. They are in cahoots with each other.

It’s a fraud. The nation is based and run on a lie.

Posted by FoxxDrake | Report as abusive

@IntoTheTardis: You do realize that Congress needs to invite the President – that the President cannot force the event on Congress? So, he really doesn’t have the option – however, the Republicans showed that jobs creation isn’t their top priority.

Actually, it was Obama whose top priority was not communicating to republicans about his job proposals. By scheduling his speech the same night they would be watching their candidates for presidency, he actually wrote them off.

Posted by AndyAE | Report as abusive


During the last election, the best the Republicans could put out was McCain and Palin – which was great because they helped you lose. Unless something incredible has changed to the Republican party, the steady,but sure Democrats will prevail. Perry would sell his soul to the nuclear waste business and others, which will put off a lot of people and Bachmann (tea party) doesn’t have a chance. When Bachmann won the straw poll in Iowa, you should have seen the faces of Republican News presenters, they looked like they were going to cry and went on talking about Perry – hardly a word about the winner of the poll. Once again, they’re putting their money on the wrong one, and doing the Dems a great favor.

Posted by BuffaloGirl | Report as abusive

Frankly, if America votes the incompetent Mr Obama back into office they deserve their fate which is increased unemployment.

Obama has a knack of doing and saying things that create increased uncertainty in the business climate and, as is well known to most (except Obama voters) the uncertainty prevents businesses from hiring.

Current unemployment among blacks is over 15%, but Obama’s minions somehow have convinced blacks that Obama is not culpable.

Posted by eleno | Report as abusive

“Obama needs to finds ways to improve his numbers, while Republicans should work to depress satisfaction with the President.” What a brilliant deduction!

Posted by thelostdecade | Report as abusive

The 800 pound gorilla in the room is Congress. With so much focus on the President, we continue to forget that the POTUS is no more powerful than what Congress allows him to be…and Congress can not pass legislation with the President’s OK.

Again, he is not king, emperor, ruler, dictator of the US. He shares power equally with Congress. So when asking why this President has been ineffective, you also have to ask why Congress has crippled him so.

…and if Congress still represent their constituents like they are supposed to, or just their major campaign contributors (corporations) who really dont have the welfare of the common man in mind but rather their own bottom line.

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive

It’s impossible to talk about Obama’s chances at re-election without discussing his possible successor. If Obama were to go against, say, Palin, I’d say his chances of re-election were outstanding (just as an example).

Posted by mahadragon | Report as abusive

You raise a good point, this model is designed to estimate the chances of reelection, i.e. is it a coin flip or trying to roll a seven. However the actual results are still very much determined by events in the real world.

This study is based on elections in democratic systems around the world for two reasons: 1) There are comparatively few cases in post WWII US history (N=16). Using international data gives us a much larger data set and allows us to draw more robust conclusions because… 2) Despite some unique characteristics, most democratic systems are more similar than they are different. Our model is designed to measure the chances for an incumbent office holder across a breadth of systems.

Posted by CJ_Ipsos | Report as abusive