How Long Are Voters’ Memories?

The answer to that question may determine the election:

If President Obama is judged primarily on the state of the economy in 2012, the verdict of the electorate is very likely to be a negative one. But if voters, for whatever reason, take into account the disastrous economic conditions Obama inherited from his predecessor, then he is likely to prevail. And if past election outcomes are a reliable guide, voters may indeed temper their unhappiness with economic conditions in 2012 by recalling how much worse things were in 2009.