A key to President Obama's re-election, whether voters are satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the nation, suggests that he is in for catastrophic trouble on Election Day.
Data from Gallup polls during the past four presidential reelection campaigns show that no president has been reelected when 55 percent or more of the country feels dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States. [See photos of the Obamas behind the scenes.]
Currently, 72 percent of the nation feels that way and has for several years, though it's peaked under Obama. That's about the same way the country felt when they tossed Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush from office.
The findings are deep in a compilation of polling about patriotism and military service issued by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. [Check out editorial cartoons about the 2012 GOP field.]
The data provided goes back to Jimmy Carter's last year in office, when those feeling dissatisfied was on par with today. At the time of his reelection defeat, 77 percent were dissatisfied, compared to 19 percent who said they were satisfied.
At the time of Ronald Reagan's reelection in 1984, the satisfied-dissatisfied ratio was 48 percent to 45 percent. When former President George H.W. Bush was defeated in 1992, it was 26 percent satisfied, 68 percent dissatisfied. In November 1996, when former President Clinton beat Bob Dole, it was even at 47 percent. At the time of former President George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, 44 percent said they felt satisfied compared to 54 percent who said they were dissatisfied.
Under Obama, the dissatisfied percentage has never gone below 62 percent.