Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Should Obama Run in 2012?

As the first half of Barack Obama’s presidency comes to a close, the public is divided over whether he should seek a second term. A 47%-plurality would like to see him run for reelection in 2012, while 42% say they would prefer him to sit out the next election. A divided public two years out from a presidential reelection campaign is not necessarily a harbinger of electoral misfortune. While Ronald Reagan cruised to landslide victory in his run for reelection in 1984, just two years prior to the vote the public was decidedly against his candidacy. In 1982, just 36% wanted Reagan to seek reelection, while 51% were opposed. Bill Clinton, who also was comfortably reelected, faced a divided public two years prior to the vote. In fact, the two presidents with strong public support for a reelection bid two years into a term — George H. W. Bush and Jimmy Carter — were both unceremoniously removed from office by the voters two years later. Read More