Stat geek Nate Silver examined approval ratings, economic indicators and the ideological zeal of the opposition and compared those factors to campaign history. His conclusion is that President Obama is “a slight underdog” to win re-election.

Silver is cautious to point out that any number of developments — Michele Bachmann winning the Republican nomination, for instance — could very rapidly improve Obama’s chances at winning a second term.

Ultimately, his epic New York Times magazine piece tells us what we already know: If a president is (a) not that popular, (b) presiding over a bad economy and (c) finds himself running against a fairly mainstream opponent, he will not be favored to win — if only by a slight margin.

But Silver’s analysis is more interesting in that he debunks several commonly repeated truisms about campaign handicapping.


(hat tip: LA Observed)

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