Obama vs. Romney: Close, nasty and unpredictable
The 2012 presidential election is more than six months away, but here is what we know so far: It is going to be close, it is going to be nasty, and the outcome could turn on a series of unpredictable events.
Democratic President Barack Obama is a slight favorite now, but as tightening poll numbers suggest, his lead over Republican Mitt Romney is tenuous.
A tepid economic recovery, voter pessimism about the future and a job approval rating largely stuck in the danger zone below 50 percent mean Obama could have a hard time matching his performance in 2008, when enthusiasm for his promise of change propelled him to victory over Republican Senator John McCain with 53 percent of the vote.
Such factors, along with a motivated Republican Party determined to oust Obama, mean that despite a bruising Republican primary fight that dented Romney’s popularity - particularly among women - the Republican has plenty of reason for hope in the November 6 election.
Political analysts see a fall election fight that looks more like the nail-biters won by George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 than Obama’s relative blowout victory in 2008.
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