New York (CNNMoney.com) - The economy was a Democrat's worst enemy in this year's midterm elections. Will President Obama face the same fate in 2012?
Political scientists say the direction of the economy is what colors an incumbent's re-election chances most. And even though sluggish growth is widely expected to continue next year, economists are generally forecasting better growth, and improvements in the job market in 2012. That could well be enough to save Obama's job.
"The next two years will be more important for [Obama's] prospects than the first half of his first term," said Douglas Hibbs, a retired professor at the University of Gothenburg who has studied the impact of the economy on voter choices over the last 60 years.