Obama Is Underdog for Re-election — Maybe

Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 04:06 PM

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President Barack Obama’s poor poll numbers, the sad state of the economy, and high unemployment rates all seem to undermine his re-election chances. But do they make him an underdog, The Washington Post’s political blog The Fix wonders, then asks the experts.

Obama, underdog, president, re-election, GOP“Obama may not be an underdog yet, but he’s working hard to become one every single day,” Brad Todd, a Republican media consultant, told the Post. “Watching him argue for tax increases in a recession is like watching a hog beg for the butcher shop.”

Even a Democratic strategist told the Post, “No doubt he is the underdog at this point in time.”

Not so fast, though, The Fix notes, chronicling factors in Obama’s favor.

“There’s no question the president political challenges are huge,” Democratic operative Joel Johnson told the Post. “But he is not, and never will be, the underdog in this race. Why? Because everybody knows governing is more complicated than campaigning — and these guys proved themselves the best campaigners on the planet, and that team is back.”

Factors in Obama’s favor include his fundraising skills and the fact that he can afford to lose ground. In 2008, Obama won 365 electoral votes. If he lost four states he won in 2008 — Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and Indiana — he still would win re-election by 38 electoral votes, the Post reported.

There also is not single GOP candidate for Obama to focus on at this time. If Rick Perry or Mitt Romney becomes the nominee, each has a record "that can be mined by Democratic opposition researchers for television ad fodder,” The Fix noted.

“And so, the answer to whether Obama is an underdog for re-election really depends on whether you think 2012 will be a national wave, throw-the-bum(s)-out election (in which case he is an underdog) or a more traditional campaign where money, organization and experience all matter (in which case he isn’t),” The Fix concluded.

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