Presidential Election

February 3, 2012 • Volume 22, Issue 5
Can Obama withstand the Republican challenge?
By Bob Benenson


President Obama stops for a campaign photo op in Phoenix on Jan. 25 (AFP/Getty Images/Jewel Samad)
President Obama stops for a campaign photo op in Phoenix on Jan. 25. Fewer than half of Americans approve of his job performance, but polls show his re-election odds are better, partly because of many voters' dissatisfaction with the Republican Party and its increasingly vocal conservatism. (AFP/Getty Images/Jewel Samad)

The 2012 contest pitting President Obama against a yet-to-be-determined Republican challenger ranks as one of the most intriguing presidential campaigns in history. Two powerful populist factions — the conservative Tea Party movement and Occupy Wall Street protest against income inequality — are helping to shape campaign ideologies and stump speeches. An unusually large field of Republican candidates, including multimillionaire Mormon Mitt Romney and thrice-married Newt Gingrich, have fought each other as aggressively as they have Obama, leaving the GOP so fractured that some think a nominee won't emerge until the party convention in August. Meanwhile, following a controversial Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance, wealthy donors are pouring millions of dollars into TV attack ads through so-called SuperPACs. And overshadowing the entire spectacle is the shaky U.S. economy and the question of which candidate is best equipped to turn it around.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Presidential Candidates and Campaigns
Jan. 15, 2021  The Biden Presidency Updated
Jan. 31, 2020  Presidential Primaries
Nov. 16, 2018  The Presidency
Jan. 06, 2017  Trump Presidency
Mar. 06, 2015  Presidential Power
Feb. 03, 2012  Presidential Election
Jan. 30, 2009  The Obama Presidency
Aug. 08, 2008  Political Conventions
Jul. 18, 2008  Race and Politics
Apr. 20, 2007  Electing the President
Dec. 30, 1988  Promises vs. Problems
Jul. 10, 1987  Presidential Nomination Process
Feb. 03, 1984  Choosing Presidential Nominees
Jun. 06, 1980  Choosing Presidential Candidates
Apr. 09, 1976  Presidential Campaign Coverage
Feb. 23, 1972  Political Conventions
May 27, 1964  Foreign Policy Issues in Election Campaigns
Sep. 21, 1960  Voting in 1960
Jan. 06, 1960  Presidential Primaries, 1960
Jan. 04, 1956  Campaign Smearing
Nov. 30, 1955  Presidential Possibilities, 1956
May 09, 1952  Open Conventions
Jan. 16, 1952  Presidential Primaries, 1952
Oct. 12, 1949  Modernization of the Presidential Election
Jan. 14, 1948  Presidential Primaries
May 01, 1944  Foreign Policy in National Elections
Jan. 01, 1944  Choice of Candidates for the Presidency
Apr. 08, 1940  Republican Candidates for the Presidency, 1940
Apr. 01, 1940  Democratic Candidates for the Presidency, 1940
Jun. 19, 1939  Selection of Nominees for the Presidency
Aug. 19, 1938  Nomination by Primary
Mar. 11, 1936  Voting in Presidential Elections
Feb. 18, 1936  Presidential Candidates, 1936
Mar. 03, 1932  Decline of the Presidential Primary
Aug. 25, 1931  Presidential Candidates, 1932
May 05, 1928  National Nominating Conventions
Sep. 03, 1927  Presidential Candidates—1928
Jun. 14, 1927  Patronage Influence in Nominating Conventions
Sep. 11, 1926  The Future of the Direct Primary
Jul. 02, 1924  Proposed Reforms of Presidential Nominating Methods
Jun. 04, 1924  The Machinery of the Political Conventions
Mar. 15, 1924  Presidential Candidates and the Issues
Sep. 05, 1923  The Passing of the Second Term
Campaigns and Elections