Saturday, September 24, 2011

Obama's Uphill Journey Towards Re-election

If President Obama is elected to a second term in 2012 he would have done it the hard way, especially compared to his road to victory in 2008. His predecessor Former President George W. Bush earned the title as the most unpopular departing president in U.S. history with an approval rating of just 22%. As a result, President Obama defeated John McCain with 53% of the votes because the nation saw him as the face of hope and pointed the blame towards the Republicans for the series of unfortunate events over the span of Bush's eight year term in office.

Unlike in 2008, President Obama does not have his work cut out for him like he did in 2008. Obama inherited an economy in shambles with an unemployment rate of 7.7% when he took office. In August the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was 9.1%, and to make matters worse,  the Congressional Budget Office Predicts that the nation's unemployment rate will be at 8.2% on election day in 2012. Obviously, having the unemployment rate being higher than it was when he took office is not an encouraging sign. As a result, the hope that fueled his 2008 presidential campaign is far from it once was as depicted in these two graphs:

This graph exemplifies how the overwhelming amount of enthusiasm that surrounded President Obama from when he first took office has slowly been diminishing. Today, only 21% of American voters strongly agree with how Obama is performing as president while 42% strongly disapprove of how he is running the nation. This correlates with the fact that less than half of voters approve of how he is handling our job market as depicted in the graph below:

History is not on Obama's side either. Over the course of U.S. history, the only president who was re-elected at a higher rate than both the projected unemployment rate and the current one was Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression. Since this time period, elections have never been this high. However, several presidents were not re-elected due to high unemployment rates that were still lower than the projected unemployment rate will be come 2012 election day such as Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. Therefore, if Obama pulls it off, he would beat the odds once again.

There are many reasons other than unemployment as to why President Obama has the lost the large amount of popularity that he had when he first took office. When he took office, America had very high expectations for him. But what many people failed in the past and continue to fail in the present is to realize is that a lot of these expectations were very unrealistic. In 2008, America was in the the greatest economic recession it has been in since the Great Depression. Therefore, it is unreasonable to expect drastic improvements in only four years. It was not until FDR's third term that the economy began to improve. Therefore, the American public needs to realize that bringing our country out of a recession takes time and that the quick fix that so many voters desire is impossible. This is not to say that President Obama does not play a part in his failed expectations, but it is not logical to solely put the blame on his shoulders for the state of our economy.


1"Bush's Final Approval Rating: 22 Percent - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>.

2."Employment Situation Summary." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2 Sept. 2011. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>.

3. "President - Election Center 2008 - Elections & Politics from" - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. 17 Nov. 2008. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>.<>.

4. Barone, Michael. "Daily Presidential Tracking Poll - Rasmussen Reports™." Rasmussen Reports™: The Most Comprehensive Public Opinion Data Anywhere. 24 Sept. 2011. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. 

5. Jaffe, Matthew, and Sunlen Miller. "Can Obama Survive High Unemlpoyment? History Not Kind to Re-electing Presidents with High Unemployment Rates - ABC News." ABC News/Poilitics. ABC, 1 Feb. 2011. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>.

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