President Obama’s advocates want to destroy conservative confidence by promoting the idea that incumbent presidents almost always win re-election. Actually, only 15 of the 42 men who preceded Obama in the presidency ever managed to win two consecutive terms—so nearly two thirds of prior presidents failed to win the re-election Obama loyalists take for granted.
Most two-termers were popular giants like Jefferson or Jackson, Ike or Reagan with far more impressive first term accomplishments and sturdier national support than Barack Obama. Moreover, two presidents generally admired by historians and counted as “great” or “near-great”—Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson—both faltered when they tried to win second full terms on their own, and withdrew after early primary failures.
Yes, Obama could win re-election but an honest examination of electoral history suggests the odds are against him.