The election can be distilled down to just a few significant issues.
The easiest issue for the electorate to understand is the state of the economy; this includes unemployment/new job creation and stock market performance. If the economy improves meaningfully approaching the elections, it is difficult to imagine how President Barack Obama can lose to the GOP contender.
The wild card in the 2012 election could be Iran. Certainly, if the U.S. attacks the nuclear facilities and successfully destroys them without significant backlash from other Arab country and without American casualties, Obama can legitimately claim to be a victorious wartime president, a winning moniker. If an assault is not successful, or if the blow back from Arabs, the Russians and/or the Chinese is serious, it will hurt Obama’s chances in the election.
Not reacting to the Iran threat could also have a significant impact on the election. If Obama does not move against Iran or support an Israeli attack, he may appear weak to the electorate. Weakness is a characteristic that voters do not appreciate.
Continued obstructionism could hurt either or both parties. The party that best depicts the other as the problem will have a great advantage in the election. It is conceivable that the current Congress will be unable to pass one meaningful piece of legislation in 2012 and will not pass another budget. The impact on the economy of inaction could become a very important factor for the president.
The Silent Majority (aka independents).
There exists a huge group of people that have no leaders and no voice in America. It is sitting on the sidelines watching and listening to the ideologues and radical elements in both parties. At some point, this group may move to support one party or the other. If this occurs, the beneficiary will win the election.
Money, Money, Money.
Everyone expects the 2012 presidential election to be the dirtiest and most underhanded election of all time. The dollars are streaming into Super PAC’s, and political consultants are already drawing up advertisements that depict opponents as incompetents, idiots, liars, un-American and so on. We will be barraged by an endless flow of negativity that will definitely have an impact on the election. Gamblers would definitely bet on the candidate who can raise the most money and be more negative. Incumbents have an advantage relating to raising money, but challengers usually have the advantage of studying four years of performance by the incumbent. Ironically, the GOP advantage regarding the latter pint has been diminished by the prolonged and dirty primaries.
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