At least, that’s the argument made by Richard Stevenson of the New York Times. There are certainly similarities between the re-election campaign of President Bush in 2004 and President Obama in 2012. One sticking point in the analogy is the economy. How much will a bad economy hurt the President in his re-election campaign.
In 2004, Iraq was not nearly as important an issue as the economy will be in this election; according to CNN’s exit poll, only 15 percent of voters considered Iraq to be important issue (behind the economy - 20% - and morality - 22%). By contrast, the economy dominates this cycle, and the question will be how the President has handled it - either well or badly. According to one study by Douglas Hibbs, income growth between 0-2 percent (or negative) has corresponded to a share of the popular vote under 50 percent. Of the incumbents with income growth 2 percent or less, 3 of the 5 lost. As of September, income growth was at 1.1 percent (Source).
However, the President is leaving nothing to chance and has been seeking to define his potential opponents before they even get out of the Republican primary - a strategy that is becoming more common since the Clinton campaign employed in the 1996 election. The President will also have a lot of cash to spread around the electoral map. Rest assured, this will be an interesting cycle.
(Source: The New York Times)