Why Obama Might Lose


Just from economics alone, Seth Masket warns that his reelection is anything but certain:

The horizontal axis above measures growth in real disposable income from the 3rd quarter of the year prior to the election to the 3rd quarter of the election year. (We're currently in the 3rd quarter of the year prior to an election.) For example, real disposable income grew by 1.8 percent prior to the 2004 election, in which George W. Bush received the narrowest reelection margin for a president in U.S. history. So it's possible for an incumbent to win during a time of mediocre economic growth, but the odds aren't great. Incumbents win 2/3rds of the time when they stand for reelection, but in the data shown above, of the six elections where RDI growth was below 2 percent, the incumbent party only won two of those. The record is 2-2 when a sitting president is up for reelection under those circumstances.

All these patterns are valid until they aren't.