"It seems very likely that cities will confront further revenue declines and cuts in city spending in 2012," the report said, citing "a national economic recovery that has been weak or stalled".
The anti-incumbent sentiment that resonates strongly on the national level does not necessarily trickle down to mayoral elections, said Richard Murray, a political scientist at the University of Houston.
He said city elections do not necessarily reflect how voters respond to statewide and national elections, and how a mayor performs in office is what helps on election day, not just factors such as party affiliation.
Murray said Houston saw a light at the end of the tunnel because its economy was bouncing back and doing better than the national trend. But mayors all around the country were sure to face hurdles as they begin their next term in office.
"The city is a big enterprise; a major economic player," he said. "When revenues flattened out and the person put in charge of running the city is struggling, it's a challenging job in these conditions."