Obama is not going to lose 2012, the gop lineup is quite weak imo.
While I'm probably sounding like a broken record, I think Obama's chances of re-election are entirely dependent on the state of the economy ...
If the unemployment rate falls below 8%, inflation remains under control, and there is no shock to the economy Obama will (easily) win re-election. On the other hand, if unemployment increases significantly, people start feeling the effects of inflation, or there is a shock to the economy that leads to government intervention (especially a bailout) Obama would lose an election running against Paulie Shore.
1. Significant increase to unemployment %
All signs points to a slowly recovering economy in 2012, chances of a major increase is very low
Actually, if you look at the numbers a slowly recovering economy is possibly the biggest chance the unemployment rate WILL increase.
The great lie currently built in to our shrinking unemployment rate is that MOST of the decrease has been because of people dropping out of the labor market... and NOT job growth.
Participation in the economy is shrinking quite a bit still.
To be at a real "No unemployment increase" we'd need to be creating 250,000 to 350,000 jobs a month. Just to tred water.
Lots of people are out of the labor force, and even more have never entered it. I think the figure is something like... the amount of people in the labor markets (people looking for jobs) was supposed to increase by 2 million, and instead has increased by 50,000 so far.
There are a lot of people waiting to enter the job market... and a lot of people who will reeneter it as things get better.