By Dr. Nayyer Ali

October 28 , 2011

Will Obama Win or Lose in 2012?

We are now 12 months away from the 2012 Presidential election, and President Obama’s chances of winning look pretty poor.  The primary reason is the economy, with unemployment still over 9%, and economic growth this year running less than 2% so far. These kinds of numbers do not bode well for an incumbent.  On top of that, consumer sentiment remains very negative, and Obama’s approval rating is down around 40%.  Usually, an incumbent needs an approval rating of around 50% to be likely to win reelection. 

Last spring, things were looking better for the President. Job growth had finally seemed to accelerate to over 200,000 per month, the unemployment rate had dropped from 10.1% to 8.9%, and the successful mission to kill Osama bin Laden briefly boosted Obama’s popularity above 50% in polls.  If the economy continued to heal at a reasonable rate, Obama would be looking at a fairly easy reelection. 

But that spring gave way to summer doldrums, as the economy weakened and the fear of a complete meltdown in Europe over a collapse of the Euro-based system and a systemic financial crisis that would spill into American banks caused the stock market to drop almost 20%.  By the end of September, there was great fear of America entering another recession, even though we really hadn’t recovered from the last one, and with the likelihood that unemployment could once again rise over 10%.  For Obama, reelection began to look rather difficult, and the Republicans have begun to think that they will likely beat him in 2012.

At this point, the odds look rather poor for Obama.  But he does have a number of factors that are in his favor.  First and foremost is money.  He is out-raising all of his Republican rivals combined, and it looks like he could raise over a billion dollars for his reelection.  He also does not have the distraction of a primary challenge from within the  party.  Although his approval rating is down around 40%, he remains likable to the American people.  And despite the poor economy, more Americans blame Bush for the situation than Obama, who has retained the loyalty of his base voters. 

He has not had a major scandal in his administration to explain.  In foreign policy, his record has been rather solid.  He is pulling the army out of Iraq, which most Americans want, he handled Libya very well, and his handling of Afghanistan and Bin Laden is to his credit.  He has not had any major foreign policy disaster.  Finally, he does have a demographic wind at his back.  The US continues to become more diverse with each passing year, while the Republican party has become a very insular White party for the most part.  Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Asians, and Muslims are all Democratic voters in the 70-95% range.  These large majorities for Obama mean he wins the election with only 40% of the White vote.

On the flip side, the Republicans are unable to find a really excellent candidate to run against Obama.  Every member of their field is flawed in some way.  The three leading figures all have major handicaps.  Herman Cain has no political experience, no money, no organization, and is woefully ignorant of most issues, particularly in foreign policy.  Governor Perry has shown himself to be a poor debater without much substance, and his appeal to religious right voters may not be successful in winning a general election.  Mitt Romney is the strongest candidate, but he is saddled by his past as a liberal Republican who was once pro-choice, and by his health care plan in Massachusetts which was the basis of Obama’s plan.  Romney is also a Mormon, and that may cost him the support of the evangelical Christian base of the Republican Party, which does not see Mormons as a type of Christian. 

The 2012 election will be extremely close.  It will turn on a couple of key factors.  If the unemployment rate starts to fall and we avoid another recession, Obama will likely win.  If the Republicans nominate someone other than Romney they will lose.  But if Romney is the candidate, and the economy continues its weakness till next summer, then he will become President.


Deflating Japan

Bush’s Axis of Evil

Speaking to Non-Muslims

If Arafat Were Jinnah

The Shape of Things to Come

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Kashmir After the Cold War

Kashmir Quagmire: How It Started

Kashmir: Where We’ve Been

Make Way for the Euro

Will there Be a Muslim Palestine?

Careful, Careful

Our Growing Community

Pakistan’s Golden Opportunity

Musharraf’s Reform Plans

Pakistan’s Afghan Dilemma

Humanity on the Move

Strategies of America, Pakistan and Benazir

Winners and Losers

America’s Strategy Defang the Fundamentalists

The Noose Tightens

Pakistan in America

Musharraf’s Moment

A Sad Day for America, A Sad Day for Islam

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Bush’s Stem Cell Compromise

The Depressing Stock Market

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Global Warming or Just Hot Air?

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Russia’s Collapse

Economic Recovery in Pakistan?

President Khatami’s Re-election

Lifting Sanctions on Pakistan

Israel’s Moral Burden

A Break in the Logjam?

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Pakistan’s Constitution

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A Candid Discussion on Foreign Policy Issues

A Sad Tale of Missed Opportunities

Cold War In Kashmir

Whither Afghanistan?

National Security and Literacy

Pakistan Votes

The People Win

What is an Islamist?

Selling the Crown Jewels

Still Not Government

One Year After the Taliban

Benazir's Folly

Iraq and Oil

Saddam and Iraq - I

Saddam and Iraq - 2

Muslim Democracy

Zakat and Capitalism

Zakat and Capitalism - 2

The Economy Picks Up

The American Military: Power without Limit?

Good Foreign Policy is Good Anti-Terrorism Policy

The Arrest of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad

Bush Takes a Gamble

Bush Attacks

Besieging Baghdad

Darkness in Saddam's Bunker

Piccadilly It Aint Qissa Khani Is Still Qissa Kahani

Ed Asner and Afghanistan's Progress

Bush Delivers a Roadmap

Liberation or Imperialism

The Roadmap

Economic Rebound

Musharraf in Los Angeles

Economic Growth will lead to Democracy

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Bush's Busted Budget

America's Broken Healthcare

Time to Buy Stocks?

Islam, the State, and Human Rights

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Pakistan, India and Human Development

Pakistan's Eid Present

Iraq, Democracy and Islam

The End of Saddam Hussein

Three Wins for Pakistan

The Islamabad Declaration

Kerry's Big Wins

Repeal Hudood and Blasphemy

Bush's Growing Vulnerability

What Has Aziz Done?

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The Growth of India

Chaos in Iraq

Bush Caves in to Sharon

Abuse at Abu Ghraib

Too Harsh, Musharraf

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What Do the Jihadis Want?

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Musharraf's Uniform

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Three States, Three Debates

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Elections in Iraq

Can Generals Yield to Democrats?

IMF Give Pakistan an “A”

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A Framework for Reconciliation

Iraq’s Elections By

Privatizing Power

Bullish in Karachi

Palestinians Should Abandon Suicide Bombings

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Bush’s Social Security Plan

Growth and Investment

Patronage Versus Policy

Aziz, the PML, and 2007

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Purchasing Power

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PTCL and the Privatization Roller-coaster

Bombing in Britain

The Ummah is Not a Tribe

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Is Iraq Dissolving?

Sharon Retreats

Pakistan and Israel

The Earthquake

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The Battle for the Supreme Court

Pakistan’s Physician Exports

Beginning of the End in Palestine

Intelligent Design and Other Religious Beliefs

Shifting Populations in South Asia

Sharon’s Stroke

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Hamas in Charge

Free Elections in 2007

Muslim Perspectives on Zionism

Iraq Falls Apart

Big Successes in Privatization

Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions

Global Warming

Dennis Ross on the Middle East

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The Iraq War

Strong Growth, Falling Poverty

Buffett and His Billions

Why Peace Is Elusive in the Middle East

How Poor is Poor?

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The London Bomb Plot

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A Real Debate on Iraq

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Economic Crisis in Pakistan

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The Failed Presidency of George W. Bush

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The Economic Meltdown

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Pakistan’s Economic Challenge

New Finds in Qur’anic History

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Is Israel Held to A Higher Standard?

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Obama’s Good Start

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The Trends in American Politics

Immigration Reshaping US and Europe

Pointless Peace Talks with Netanyahu

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Pakistan in Chaos

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Pakistan’s Weak Economy

The Fall of Gadhafi

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The State of Palestine

The Failure of Pakistan’s Afghan Policy

The Failure of Pakistan’s Afghan Policy

Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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