Of course, this is all contingent upon sustained job growth. If manufacturing sees sustained gains, says Lawless, it may be difficult for Republicans to make a strong counter-argument.
"It seems to me that the main issue the Republican candidate can focus on is 'too little, too late,'" Lawless says,an argument that gives voters the difficult task of imagining an alternate reality in which Obama was not elected.
It's a pretty precarious position. It's not a position I'd want to be in as a candidate."