2012 is not decided yet.
President Clinton relied on an analysis of "The Keys to the White House" by Prof. Lichtman in deciding whether or not to run in 1992. The analysis showed that a charismatic newcomer could defeat the incumbent. I believe we are in the exact same situation now.
Prof. Lichtman's theory involves evaluating 13 key factors - if an incumbent has 7 or more of them in his favor, he will be reelected. Lichtman's ideas are relevant because he's correctly predicted the outcomes of presidential elections since 1984. According to the professor, Obama is a shoo-in for 2012 because he would be awarded 9 of 13 'keys' needed to be elected.
However, I beg to differ.
When I asked my Obama-phile husband whether he would award each key for or against Obama, the total came to only 7 of 13. The two which differed from the professor were #5 - Short term economy. My husband expects that the economy will not improve during the election. And #7 Policy change: The incumbent administration effects major changes in national policy. While my husband agrees that some policies have changed, major change has not and probably will not occur.
If the survey of an avowed Obama fan shows a tally so evenly divided, that means that key #13 is again the one in play for this election:
Challenger charisma: The challenging party candidate is charismatic or a national hero.
Which in my book says this is the Republicans' election to win or lose. If they manage to find a candidate...