Why the weak economy might not doom Obama

Even so, I doubt that Romney will win by more than a few points, if he wins at all. Obama’s job approval today is at 48 percent, right at the political Mendoza Line (as Josh Kraushaar once put it) separating acceptable mediocrity from unacceptable mediocrity. With job approvals above 45 percent, it is unlikely that Obama would lose by more than a few points, if he loses at all.

More importantly — and I think a lot of commentators miss this — the economy isn’t as bad as it was in 1980, or even in 2008. Yes, the recovery is weak, and is weak enough to endanger Obama’s re-election bid. But it is still a recovery, and might be strong enough to re-elect the president.

Indeed, if you look at various econometric models of the election, the lion’s share (10 of 13) predict an Obama victory in the fall. Only two, Douglas Hibbs’s “Bread and Peace” model and Alfred Cuzan’s model, give Romney an overwhelming shot at winning.