NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama has said if the economy doesn't turn around on his watch, voters won't give him a second term.
"If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition," he said in an NBC interview in February.
Policy experts agree Obama's presidency will be rated on the speed and depth of the economic recovery. But they think he may only have until mid-2010 to get the economy moving in the right direction before Americans start blaming him for what ails them.
"If we get back to an upward economy in 2010, it'll be good. But if we're in it [longer] ... people's opinions will be formed. That's as much patience as Americans will have," said Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Reginald Jones senior fellow of the Peterson Institute.
And voters could take it out on Democrats in the November 2010 midterm congressional elections.
"Republicans could cut into Democratic majorities," said American University Professor Allan Lichtman, a political historian and presidential election expert.