Nate Silver contrasts the 1980 economy with the 2012 one:
[T]here is really no comparison between Mr. Obama and Mr. Carter, who faced an economy that was still bottoming out into a severe and broad-based recession. Mr. Obama, by contrast, faces numbers that are improving but perhaps too slowly. It would probably require an economic shock, instead, to put Mr. Obama in Mr. Carter’s shoes. This could happen, of course – for instance, if there were a meltdown in Europe.